Washington, DC – Mayor Muriel Bowser today celebrated a partnership between the Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) and the University of the District of Columbia Community College (UDC-CC) at the National Museum of African American History and Culture (NMAAHC). Through the partnership, all sworn and civilian members at MPD will participate in a training course that provides insight into the African American experience in the District and the history of neighborhoods in Washington, DC.
“When residents and officers trust each other and understand each other, we are all safer,”said Mayor Bowser. “This partnership is a tremendous opportunity for our community and one small but important way we can provide our officers at MPD with the tools and knowledge they need to be successful.”
The course will be taught by UDC-CC professors and will expand on MPD’s existing trainings that focus on interactions between law enforcement and minority communities, implicit bias, and cultural sensitivity. The innovative partnership started with members of MPD’s Command Staff touring NMAAHC in June 2017, and the official training began for the entire staff in January 2018.
“Without a doubt, this experience will benefit the communities we serve,” said Chief of Police Peter Newsham. “The staff of the Metropolitan Police Department will gain detailed knowledge of the local community with historical context which will strengthen service for residents and visitors.”
Established by Act of Congress in 2003, NMAAHC is the only national museum devoted exclusively to the documentation of African American life, history, and culture. UDC-CC professors will use the museum as a blueprint for their course.
“The University of the District of Columbia is proud to be a part of this collaborative partnership to increase knowledge, strengthen relations, and build trust between law enforcement and District residents,” UDC President Ronald Mason, Jr. said in a statement. “As the District’s public institution of higher learning, it is our mission to provide training and advance innovative community policing strategies that benefit us all.”
The new partnership builds on the Bowser Administration’s commitment to building trust between law enforcement and the community. In 2016, the Administration completed the deployment of body-worn cameras to all MPD patrol officers. In 2017, MPD transitioned to asector policing model, a proactive community policing technique that improves accountability and performance by creating a single chain of command. Recently, the Mayor launched Crime Cards, an interactive public crime mapping application that can assist DC residents and visitors by providing easy-to-understand data visualizations of crime locations, types, and trends across all eight wards. And in the Mayor’s Fiscal Year 2019 budget, which she presented to the Council last month, the Mayor invested $1.7 million to expand the MPD cadet program from 70 cadets to 100 cadets.