PFLUGERVILLE, Texas (KXAN) — There are calls across the country for police to check any cultural or racial bias within their police departments.
In Central Texas, police officers answered that call by participating in a special training Wednesday.
“It’s turning out to be a lot more of an eye opener than I had thought,” said Williamson County Sheriff Mike Gleason.
Inside a Pflugerville convention center room Wednesday, more than a dozen Texas watch commanders and police chiefs took part in RITE, which stands for Racial Intelligence Training and Engagement.
The training used the lens of an emotional step ladder to allow officers to check their feelings before responding to calls.
“Nobody cared about what I was going through as a cop, nobody cared about my own personal PTSD,” said Linda Webb, RITE Instructor.
Webb along with Randy Friedman launched the training shortly after a Ferguson police officer shot and killed Michael Brown, an unarmed black teenager.
“We’re taught in the academy you don’t have emotions. Just check them at the door and do your job,” said Friedman. “You do have emotions, and the human factor is always at play.”
Ever since launching the program, the two have been on a mission to increase thought before police calls and change the outcome.
“What we see if officers speeding up police calls, when we should be slowing down,” said Webb. “If I see my police partner is out of control, then I need to step in, tap out and take control with duty to intervene.”
Multiple Central Texas police departments participated, including Sheriff Gleason.
“The racial turmoil is getting worse and worse in how we are perceived. I like to remind people that some 800,000 police officers went home without doing a bad thing,” said Gleason. “We also need to remind our officers how they present themselves to the community.”
Last month, the San Marcos Police Department also participated in this same training hosted by the Austin School District Police Department.