Wilmington City Council is working on a resolution to encourage its city's police department to work on bias and sensitivity training, but Police Chief Robert Tracy said his department is already one step ahead.
Speaking at Monday's Public Safety Committee meeting of City Council, Tracy said they are trying to hit key issues when it comes to equal justice among the force.
"Every month, we go through a six-to-seven-hour training period for each of our officers, that's built into our schedule, where we address things like implicit biases, procedural justice, and police legitimacy to make sure we're in compliance and pushing through those policies."
One of Tracy's procedures has been to try to keep officers working in a similar area, to help breed familiarity and trust between a neighborhood and its patrolmen.
A challenge the council brought up is ensuring officers understand the different types of living situations they could run into on a call.
"I want to get the whole police department trained in crisis intervention training because we're dealing with mental health issues, trauma, and sometimes abuse and neglect of children. We want to make sure our officers can identify those early signs, and then if they are dealing with them, that these officers are well trained. That really starts going to deescalation to make sure we're not causing more harm when we go into those situations. I think with the highlight on policing in general in this environment, if there is additional money available for for training, this is an area I really want to get our officers trained in because I think it can do great things in the community, and help build that trust we need between the police and the community."
Tracy was asked about the city's hiring process on police officers, and said an independent group looks at their potential recruiting class after they pass their physicals, and tries to weed out issues before they get a chance to put on the badge.
"We have a police psychologist that takes a look at each one of them and does a testing model to see if they can find some things that we might have missed in all of our things, and then give their blessing on whether they can become a police officer or not. It is independent of the police chief, with no appeal from the police department."
Tracy was also questioned on when the police "white book" of procedures would be fully prepared to go up on the force's website.
He said he has a team working with the city's solicitor's office on what needs to be redacted, and placed a September or October end date for when the entire document would be made available to the public. The Wilmington Police Department's Use of Force policy was released on June 11.
City council is expected to vote Thursday to authorize publication of the manual.