Department Plan Calls For Sand Springs Police Officers To Undergo Anti-Bias Training

Monday, August 8th 2016, 10:54 pm
By: News On 6

A Green Country police department is changing the way officers think and act on the job.

Sand Springs' Police Chief rolled out a new policing plan for the rest of the year; on the list of changes for the department is something called anti-bias training, and it's meant to keep officers fair.

Officer Jeremy Hillsberry is a Sandite, through and through. He been on the force for about a decade now, and he loves his job.

"I feel like I'm making a difference," he said.

Hillsberry said it's been impossible to ignore the stories from other parts of the country - police shooting citizens, violent attacks against law enforcement - but Sand Springs is lucky, he said, it doesn't have those community policing issues.

"I think we're aware of the problems, but I just don't see those issues that prevalent here," he said.

But that doesn't mean Sand Springs will never have issues; that's why Chief Mike Carter is constantly looking at the department's policing plan - what's working and what's not.

This year, he wants all of his officers to go through anti-bias training, which he's attended himself. He said it encourages law enforcement to be sensitive and impartial.

"If we expose them to the fact that most people have some bias in their life, and they're aware of that, then maybe we come closer to making things fairer for everybody that we can," Carter said.

The chief said it's not just about race. In fact, he's received very few complaints of racial bias.

But, Sand Springs does have a wide range of socioeconomic levels; and part of the anti-bias training encourages officers to treat everyone fairly, whether they have a lot of money or none.

Carter said, "That's a lot of what this plan talks about - taking out these biases and letting us apply the law equally to people."

The new policing plan also suggests replacing small fines with community service opportunities.

But it protects officers, too - the plan now considers resisting arrest and assault or battery of an officer a state offense.