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Seattle PD launches training program focused on building community relationships

The Before the Badge program is designed to help recruits gain a better understanding of the people they will eventually swear to.

SEATTLE — A training program within the Seattle Police Department focuses on building relationships within the community before law enforcement tactics matter.

The “Before the Badge” program is designed to help recruits gain a better understanding of the people they will eventually swear to serve, the department said. They build relationships before they get their badges.

“It’s really about building the culture of the department that’s valued and how we build those relationships,” said Police Chief Adrian Diaz. “Before we even go to academy or get in a squad car.”

Before Seattle Police Department recruits attend the Washington State Criminal Justice Training Commission’s mandatory 720-hour law enforcement training course, they complete the Before the Badge course, which began in May.

The five-week training immerses recruits in community-based, peer-based, and introspective experiences. The training consists of three parts:

  • Meet with community groups to discuss policing in Seattle as individuals
  • Work with the Wellness unit to get tools to help you with the stresses of work
  • Learn about SPD districts, officers, opportunities and leadership

The program also includes “exploring the racial history of policing progress, gender responsiveness, and the science of relationship-based policing.”

Victoria Beach, of the African American Community Advisory Council, said: “Many officers who work in our community, some of them may not have been around African Americans. You can’t just throw cops into different communities without them knowing the story.”

Beach said the program shows that the Seattle Police Department cares and “they’re listening, they’re trying — and they’re trying to build a better police department.”

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https://www.king5.com/article/news/local/seattle/seattle-police-training-program-community/281-dc9d4835-529b-4536-9380-35eab3c4e811 Seattle PD launches training program focused on building community relationships

Alley Einstein

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