Santa Barbara, California - August 24th, 2016 - With uncertain times facing our nation, Santa Barbara takes a plunge into peaceful progress with new Police Chief Luhnow, six weeks into her start, pledging to review the current trainings offered to the Santa Barbara Police Department and initiating educational programs designed to address issues such as Implicit Bias.
Chief Luhnow has a long history with community building efforts demonstrated in her leadership at the San Diego Police Department, “I have a very strong community oriented policing background because of my time with the SDPD. It’s something I was brought up on in the organization. We exist to police for the community. Without having that relationship, you can’t have the dialogue that points out the problems,” Lunhow noted.
Implicit Bias by definition is a bias in judgment and/or behavior that results from subtle cognitive processes, implicit attitudes and/or implicit stereotypes, that often function at a level below a person’s conscious awareness (definition source). This definition matched with the consistent fatal altercations of people of color and police across this nation is very important to note and Chief Luhnow agrees, “We need to be accountable for everything we do. It’s something that will be instilled on a daily basis” (Quote).
Jordan Killebrew, Black Lives Matter and community organizer alongside Chiany Dri, SBCC Black Student Union President, and others community organizers collaborated with numerous community nonprofits for a candlelight vigil for Alton Sterling, Philando Castile, and the five Dallas police officers who were slain to meaningless violence this past July. Dri and Killebrew worked closely with the SBPD and Lizzie Rodriguez, Chief Collaborative Coordinator with Restorative Community Network, to create a peaceful and successful event that was a precursor to SBPD agreeing to the training.
Implicit Bias, Emotional Intelligence, and other training for SBPD will begin Wednesday, August 31st. Killebrew along with Rodriguez will serve as co-leaders to the task force. “We come together with a shared mission - to create a safe and welcoming community for everyone. Doing so requires a strong relationship with community members, community leaders, and law enforcement,” said Rodriguez. They will organize, facilitate, and maintain this cause. Holding the police department accountable for a prioritize education, relationship building, and healing to keep our community progressing forward into a more equal Santa Barbara. Officers from San Diego Police Department will also come and assist in training on that day.
“I am always a proud Santa Barbarian, but I stand prouder today knowing that my Police Chief cares.” -Killebrew.