Norwalk police get racial-profiling training

Members of the Norwalk Police Department were inside the classroom Tuesday for a course on fair and impartial policing.

Members of the Norwalk Police Department were inside the classroom Tuesday for a course on fair and impartial policing. (7/28/15)

NORWALK - Norwalk police commanders went back to school Tuesday to get lessons in avoiding racial profiling.

The training comes after national protests over the deaths of unarmed African-Americans in police custody.

The NAACP and other minority leaders were also part of the training. They say that there is a lot of mistrust to overcome.

"In this country, if you're a police officer and you're white, you're right - whatever you do," says Brenda Penn-Williams, of the Norwalk NAACP.

The training is taught by national racial profiling expert Lorie Fridell, who says that sometimes race should be a factor in police stops. She says that both sides need to understand where the other is coming from.

"We can reduce our biases by positive contact with people who are different from us," Fridell says. "The more police interact with people who are different, that's going to reduce their biases."

Fridell says that there are times when police should use ethnicity as a factor in stops, such as if they have a specific suspect description.

But, she says, if they do, officers need to clearly communicate why and apologize if they've stopped the wrong person.

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