Police academy takes training seriously
By Maddy Warren
Editor In Chief
At its Monday, April 19 meeting via WebEx, the LCC Board of Trustees discussed the training procedures followed by the college’s Mid-Michigan Police Academy, among other things.
“I want to talk about our police academy training and the ongoing issues with law enforcement in our country,” LCC President Dr. Steve Robinson said during the meeting. “The issues that gave rise to our resolution on racial injustice in our equity action plan are still very much with us.
“We see this in the news every day, especially in the last week. … We have a lot going on in this country and, during this time, every organization that trains law enforcement officers needs to take a look in the mirror – and we are taking a look in the mirror here at LCC and we have been for some time.”
Robinson and his team shared a video during the meeting featuring trainers from the LCC Mid-Michigan Police Academy, who described how law enforcement officers are trained at the college.
“We are not perfect,” Robinson said. “There is much work to do, but I wanted to let you know that our folks are here to talk about that training, and we’re intentional about that training. It’s serious and we’re evolving.”
During the video, academy trainers shared that recruits are asked why they want to be police officers in this day and time. The recruits are also given “the talk.”
“In the minority community, especially in the Black community, parents will sit down with their children and explain to them the things that they should do, and look out for, and how to interact with law enforcement,” said James Campbell, LCC adjunct instructor and retired East Lansing Police Department lieutenant, in the video.
“Things have got to change and we want those changes to start here in this academy.”
Campbell added that recruits are required to take an implicit bias test.
Police Academy Coordinator Andy Lindeman and Campbell answered questions after the video.
Trustee Samantha Vaive asked about the dismissal process for the academy.
Lindeman explained that there is an application process to enter the academy that includes panelists who review the recruits’ applications.
“We have an hour-long interview with the recruit and we go over their complete application and we ask them specific questions – ‘what ifs,’ ‘what would you do in these situations?’ – and we screen them that way,” Lindeman said.
“If we don’t like the answers or we come up with some things we’re seeing that are red flags (of) reasons for wanting to be a police officer, we frankly just write them a letter that we don’t think they’re a good fit for the academy.”
Trustee Angela Mathews raised the question of how often implicit bias training is given.
Campbell said implicit bias training is ongoing.
“What we learned from doing this is that it definitely needs to be reinforced as the academy goes,” Campbell said. “We are doing that through scenario training and conversations about current events.”
Other training components for recruits include a three-page research paper on “the talk,” followed by a group conversation.
The information shared on the Mid-Michigan Police Academy training was part of Robinson’s President’s Report. The monthly President’s Reports are available to the public and can be accessed here.
“This is through part of our very intentional efforts on transparency and collaboration,” Robinson said. “The President’s Report lives out there with my blog, with the podcasts that we do and my linkages to social media.
“There’s a lot of great information in the President’s Report from across the college.”
The next Board of Trustees meeting is scheduled for Monday, May 17 at 6 p.m.