Amid protests and change, Iowa police training on implicit bias varies

In 2015, the Iowa Law Enforcement Academy lacked training on implicit bias. As a cadet there then, Natasha Greene sought discussions on her own about some of the mistaken beliefs officers might hold of others, such as expecting a black person to be dangerous or more crime prone from stereotypes, ideas that could come from television or passed from family and friends. Now an Iowa State Police Department officer, Greene said these conversations were uncomfortable, as awkward as telling someone the zipper on their pants is down but you still do it. 

“If I’m talking to somebody I care about and their fly’s down, of course I’m going to tell them their fly’s down because it would be more harmful for me to just let them carry on without knowing,” Greene said. Today those discussions are more serious and more uncomfortable as the May 2020 death of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police brought the Black Lives Matter movement and calls for defunding police. Implicit bias and training officers became part of the national conversation.

IowaWatch Connection Podcast: Understanding And Reducing Gun Violence In Iowa

President Barack Obama’s recent executive orders on gun access and control reignited debates over how to rein in gun violence. There’s a perception that gun violence in Iowa is worse than ever. The number of shootings in Iowa’s major cities is increasing, but law enforcement says it’s due to a small number of people.

News Quiz: Texting While Driving

Iowa legislators are taking another look at legislation to prohibit cellphone use while driving, in an effort to give more teeth to the current texting law. Last year, legislation that proposed making texting while driving a primary offense, meaning law enforcement officials could pull drivers over for texting alone, died in the Iowa House. Test your knowledge on the current texting law and the bill proposed by the Iowa Department of Public Safety.