Online Training for Law Enforcement on Promoting and Protecting Civil and Human Rights

The Auschwitz Institute for the Prevention of Genocide and Mass Atrocities (AIPG) completed the pilot version of its new online course for law enforcement personnel in the United States, entitled “Promoting and Protecting Civil and Human Rights,” which ran from September 18 until October 2, 2020. Organized in partnership with the National Center for Civil and Human Rights, with funding from the Woodruff Foundation, and the Atlanta Police Department (APD), the training was attended by 86 recently recruited members of the APD’s Police Academy.

The online course benefits from a newly created curriculum, which was developed with the assistance of multiple external experts in the field. The curriculum includes an array of innovative multimedia tools, which were designed for the course. The training takes place as an intensive two-week program, with four distinct modules introduced each week. As a whole, the program builds capacity in partnered law enforcement agencies to detect relevant risk factors for civil and human rights abuses, identify appropriate response tools to promote and protect those rights, and recognize best practices for fostering resiliency in targeted communities.

The first week of the course focused on Promoting and Protecting Civil and Human Rights in Deeply Divided Societies. It included participative modules on social identity, the history of policing in the United States, as well as Citizen Review Boards and police reform. The week ended with a virtual tour of the National Center for Civil and Human Rights. The second half of the course was devoted to challenges in 21st century policing. This week began with modules on implicit bias in policing, policing in traumatized communities, and Dr. James Waller’s Becoming Evil: The Psychology of How Ordinary People Commit Atrocities. The two-week intensive course was then brought to a close with a virtual keynote presentation by Mr. Roberto Villaseñor, former Chief of the Tucson Police Department and member of President Obama’s Task Force on 21st Century Policing.

The next edition of the Auschwitz Institute’s online course for law enforcement on Promoting and Protecting Civil and Human Rights with the Atlanta Police Department is planned for January of 2021, with additional installments continuing throughout the year. A complementary course for police leadership is currently underway.