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Want To Be A Chicago Police Officer? You'll Have To Learn Black History

By Sam Cholke | June 26, 2017 10:23am | Updated on June 27, 2017 8:07am
 A tour of the DuSable Museum of African American History is being added to the mandatory training for new recruits to the Chicago Police Department.
A tour of the DuSable Museum of African American History is being added to the mandatory training for new recruits to the Chicago Police Department.
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HYDE PARK — A tour of the DuSable Museum of African American History is being added to mandatory training for new recruits to the Chicago Police Department.

On Monday Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Police Supt. Eddie Johnson welcomed 56 recruits to the Washington Park museum, at 740 E. 56th Place, which will be added to the trip to Illinois Holocaust Museum in Skokie that’s part of their training to understand different cultures and the dangers of bigotry.

Mayor Rahm Emanuel said it's part of an effort to beef up training for police recruits that started with more education on dealing with mental illness, community policing and changes to the use-of-force policy.

“This is also part of that training and part of that training is being aware that we are a diverse city,” Emanuel told the group of new recruits.

The group was scheduled to spend a portion of the day touring the museum, discussing the role of African-Americans in building Chicago and watching a youth theater group’s performance sharing real stories of incarcerated youths.

Johnson told recruits that they would be heading out to help people during one of the most difficult moments of their lives in a cultural context they may not immediately understand.

“Because violence most often affects those in disadvantaged neighborhoods, due in part to the disparity we desperately need to fix, we also find ourselves interacting more often than not with African-Americans and other people of color,” Johnson said. “Many of you will start your careers in these areas, and it’s important you understand the history that created the conditions in those neighborhoods.”

The training is expected to bolster recruits’ understanding of cultural competency and awareness, procedural justice and implicit bias and is designed to strengthen constitutional policing and procedural justice practices in the department.

The announcement comes as the Police Department continues to try to reform itself as federal oversight through a consent decree looks less likely.

Johnson said he continues to have faith in Emanuel’s efforts to reform the Police Department.