Implicit bias is an underlying and unconscious bias, often based on stereotypes, for or against certain qualities. Implicit bias against Black, Indigenous, and people of color (BIPOC) is an ongoing factor in mistreatment and oppression, especially by police officers. Bias has continued to lead to the killing of BIPOC by police, in situations where a white person would have received preferential treatment. Certain tests, such as the Implicit Association Test (IAT) designed by Harvard University, identifies an individual’s implicit bias. If this were to be utilized for testing police officers, excessive violence and prejudiced treatment of BIPOC could be reduced.
This bias testing would involve both a written IAT and a situational evaluation. Written IATs are designed to have police officers categorize images of individuals as fast as they can. This reveals patterns in categorization based on appearance. Situational IATs present officers with scenarios in which they have to work with people of different demographics, and their interactions will be analyzed to determine implicit bias.
If officers’ implicit bias registers as “strong” on the IAT, they should be further trained and educated, and, if they have any past history of unnecessary violence in the field, evaluated for their fitness to serve. This testing needs to happen annually to ensure that bias does not develop over time. Bias testing is also financially beneficial for the city. The Los Angeles Times reported that from 2005 to 2018 Los Angeles paid more than $190 million for police misconduct settlements. By training officers to abandon their biases, there will be less cases where the city will need to settle.
By signing this petition, you demand that Los Angeles Police Department officers are tested annually for bias, in order to protect the Los Angeles community.