IOWA CITY, IA (KCRG-TV9) -- If you're human, you have a bias. That's the message a University of Iowa police officer wants everyone to be aware of.
Monday night, Officer Gabriella Blanchard-Manning instructed an implicit bias training. Officers from University of Iowa, Iowa City and University Heights attended the course.
The course was held at UI for two reasons. First for transparency.
"We want the community to see what we're doing because this is important to changing some of the issues we've had as a profession,” Blanchard-Manning said.
Second, so community members can also learn the training. Erin Hanover attended because she wants to be a better parent partner. She mentors families who have children in foster care.
"If I go into a home and let's say there's domestic abuse, I don't want to have a judgment against a mom,” Hanover said.
Blanchard-Manning says the key is education, and realizing stereotypes aren't always true.
"A lot of times, at least on the law enforcement side, we sometimes have negative interactions with a certain demographic of people so the bias that we form are based on our experience,’ Blanchard-Manning said.
She wants officers to have positive interactions and experiences with certain groups of people. It can be something as simple as stopping by to say hi to someone in a neighborhood.
“So the officer has a broader picture of the people that they serve not just some of the narrow experiences that sometimes happen just from patrolling and calls they respond to."
Blanchard-Manning says she didn't have to go through implicit bias training when she went through the police academy, six years ago. But new officers are typically required to have that training now, before graduation.