Tuesday, January 06, 2015

St. Louis Co. representative's bill requires cultural competency training for police

One of the major issues facing the Missouri Legislature when it opens for business this week is the continuing outcry over the fatal shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson.

A number of bills have been filed which would address everything from requiring outside investigations of officer-involved shootings, more thorough background checks for police officers, and mandatory cultural competency training for officers.

The cultural competency bill was pre-filed by Rep. Rochelle Walton-Gray, D-St. Louis County, on December 1, the first day that bills could be pre-filed.

The bill has the following description on the Missouri House website:

Currently, peace officers who make traffic stops are required to receive three hours of training within a three-year reporting period concerning the prohibition against racial profiling and said training must promote the understanding and respect for racial and cultural differences and the use of effective, noncombative methods for carrying out law enforcement duties in a racially and culturally diverse environment.

This bill changes this section to apply to all peace officers.The bill requires any peace officer to complete a module established by the POST commission to determine if he or she is culturally competent. The peace officer must receive a passing score, as determined by the POST commission. If an officer obtains a failing score, he or she must attend training on cultural diversity competency and retest until a passing score is obtained.

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