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Legal Update Article

Connecticut Requires Implicit Bias Training for Police

Connecticut Governor Ned Lamont has signed a bill that requires the police to undergo “implicit bias training” effective immediately.

The Connecticut General Assembly convened in a special session to consider a comprehensive police accountability bill in response to a call to action following the death of George Floyd and the ongoing Black Lives Matter movement. On July 30, 2020, the bill passed the General Assembly and the Governor signed it into law one day later.

The new law amends Section 7-294s of the Connecticut General Statutes (“State and local police training programs to provide training in the use of physical force and body-worn recording equipment and cultural competency and sensitivity training”).

Currently, police officers are required to undergo training on the use of physical force, the use of body-worn recording equipment, and cultural competency and sensitivity and bias-free policing. The amendment modifies the scope of this training to include “implicit bias training.”

The new law defines “implicit bias training” as “training on how to recognize and mitigate unconscious biases against a particular segment of the population that might influence a police officer’s judgments and decisions when interacting with a member of such segment of the population.”

Police officers will be required to be trained on the existence of individual preferences and stereotypes that can affect their perceptions, actions, and decisions in an unconscious manner due, in large part, to each individual’s background, cultural environment, and personal experiences (“unconscious bias”). They also will be taught how to recognize and mitigate unconscious bias. The goal of the training will be to ensure that police officers are aware of their implicit bias while performing their duties.

This new requirement comes at a time when public and private employers, at an increasing frequency, are conducting bias training. Jackson Lewis attorneys can provide bias training that is practical and insightful, and it can be uniquely adapted for a variety of industries or statutory obligations. For questions about bias training or other Diversity & Inclusion programs, please contact the Jackson Lewis attorney with whom you regularly work.

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