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Tampa police officers to undergo implicit bias training amid George Floyd protests

Hillsborough County

TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – “Our city is grieving, our country is grieving and our community is grieving. And what we need now is action.”

Tampa Mayor Jane Castor repeatedly expressed Friday afternoon that she and other city officials are and will continue to work on making changes across the community toward a more inclusive environment.

Castor mentioned how the 8 Can’t Wait campaign and its eight policies have been in place across the city for years.

“The 8 Can’t Wait policies are critical changes that police departments across the country should be implementing already. But in Tampa, we also know that is just the beginning,” she said. “While we’ve been making positive changes and taking steps in the right directions from interactions with protesters we know that that is not enough and we need to make fundamental changes as a country, as a city and as a community.”

News Channel 8’s Ryan Hughes took a look at 8 Can’t Wait’s comparison of cities across the nation and found that the organization said Tampa only meets one out of the eight categories. That category is “Has Use of Force Continuum.”

Jordon Coury, an army reservist, says he was an innocent spectator at a George Floyd protest in Downtown Tampa on Wednesday and ended up taking a rubber bullet to the head during a chaotic moment.

“It’s all really confusing. I’m really hurt. I’m really upset ya know,” Coury said.

A witness said he administered medical attention, but when he asked police for help, they refused. Coury says he plans to sue the Tampa Police Department for excessive force.

Tampa Police Chief Brian Dugan said he had not heard that a lawsuit was being filed, but isn’t surprised by it.

“We’re looking at all incidents, and claims of officers using excessive force,” Police Chief Brian Dugan said. “We take these complaints and these allegations serious and they will be investigated and everyone will be held accountable.”

In order to help continue to make citywide changes, Castor and Dugan brought in Lorie Fridell, a criminology professor at the University of South Florida and the founder of Fair and Impartial Policing.

Fair and Impartial Policing provides implicit-bias-awareness training to law enforcement agencies across the nation.

“With implicit biases, we link groups to various stereotypes, it’s not based on animus and hostility,” Fridell said. “These stereotypes can impact our perceptions and our behaviors outside of conscious awareness and this can impact even well-intentioned people who reject that at the conscious level biases, stereotypes, and prejudice.”

In August, Fridell said her group and Chief Dugan are planning several trainings with the Tampa Police Department as well as two community trainings.

She also mentioned they will re-certify TPD Fair and Impartial Policing trainers.

The Tampa Police Department announced on June 1 that a team of assessors from the Commission for Florida Law Enforcement Accreditation (CFA) will soon examine all aspects of the Tampa Police Department’s policies, procedures, management, operations, and support services.

As part of the assessment, agency members and the general public are invited to offer comments to the assessment team. Anyone wishing to offer written comments about the Tampa Police Department’s ability to meet the standards of accreditation, or those interested in Information regarding CFA, can use the following options to contact the Commission by mailing the CFA at the address listed below:

CFA, P.O. Box 1489, Tallahassee, Florida  32302, or email to flaccreditation@fdle.state.fl.us

For more information on 8 Can’t Wait, click here.

For more information on Fair and Impartial Policing, click here.

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