December 15, 2020 (Denver, CO) – Today, the Colorado Community College Foundation announced that The Colorado Health Foundation awarded a $1 million grant to the Colorado Community College System (CCCS) to reshape law enforcement training and better prepare future officers to serve and protect all members of Colorado’s diverse communities.
The grant will allow CCC’s Law Enforcement Academy Curriculum and Training project team to review current course objectives, program requirements, and instructor techniques to identify opportunities to embed a focus on social justice. The redesigned curriculum will be offered to academy cadets and delivered statewide to current officers.
An early review of Colorado’s Peace Officer Standards and Training (POST) curriculum indicates that only eight credit hours of the required 556 total credit hours focus on issues of ethics and anti-bias policing. The remaining hours are dedicated to tactical topics and skills such as criminal processes, basic law, driving, and hand-to-hand combat. While all are critical aspects of officer training, CCCS’s project will provide necessary balance specifically in the areas of racial justice, diversity, implicit bias, and de-escalation to better reflect the activities that most officers engage in every day.
“Our commitment to our students and to our communities is to improve lives and increase opportunity through education. We acknowledge that as the state’s largest provider of post-secondary training and workforce education, we have a responsibility to re-examine our law enforcement curriculum that prepares hundreds of new police officers each year,” said Joe Garcia, chancellor of the Colorado Community College System. “We are grateful for this generous support from The Colorado Health Foundation that will help us move our initiative forward and empower us to make a lasting impact on the health and safety of our communities.”
“The Colorado Health Foundation is proud to support this project aimed at transforming local law enforcement training to better reflect, represent and serve Colorado’s diverse communities – particularly folks who have been historically and disproportionately harmed by police violence, such as Black, Latinx, Asian American/Pacific Islander and Native/Indigenous populations,” said Karen McNeil-Miller, president and CEO of The Colorado Health Foundation. “The safety and well-being of everyone in our state is critical to our mission to bring health in reach for all Coloradans. We see this collaborative community effort as a potential game changer, and as one piece of a larger puzzle to create more inclusive, equitable institutions and systems.”
We are grateful for this generous support from The Colorado Health Foundation that will help us move our initiative forward and empower us to make a lasting impact on the health and safety of our communities.
Partners in this important work to review programs statewide include the Colorado Attorney General’s Office, the POST Board, community organizations such as Urban League of Metropolitan Denver and Colorado Association of Chiefs of Police, and prominent leaders in the community. Higher education partners include Colorado Mountain College, Aims Community College, and Western Colorado Community College. CCCS and these college partners collectively house 11 of the 24 Law Enforcement Academies in the state, all of which are governed by the POST Board, training close to 700 cadets per year.
The initiative includes three phases. The first phase is a comprehensive review of current law enforcement training programs and development of a new, culturally responsive curriculum. In phase two, instructors will complete training using the new curriculum that includes high impact simulations for explicit training around issues of social justice and racial equity. The second phase also includes intentional efforts to expand the diversity of instructional staff within academies. Culminating the project in phase three is the creation of a second training program for working officers to be delivered through half-day modules or multi-day sessions. The redesigned curriculum is expected to be offered in 2022 to cadets and the new training for officers will be available in 2023.
About the Colorado Community College System
The Colorado Community College System (CCCS) is the state’s largest system of higher education, delivering more than 1,000 programs to over 125,000 students annually through 13 colleges and 40 locations across Colorado. Our open access mission ensures all Coloradans who aspire to enrich their lives have access to quality higher education opportunities. The System Office provides leadership, advocacy and support to the colleges under the direction of the State Board for Community Colleges and Occupational Education (SBCCOE). Join us in changing the way Colorado goes to college.
About the Foundation for Colorado Community Colleges
Founded in 1987, the Foundation for Colorado Community Colleges advances the mission, vision, goals, and objectives of the Colorado Community College System. Specifically, the Foundation actively seeks contributions from public and private sources to make scholarships available statewide, advance key programmatic initiatives, provide training and support for CCCS college foundations, and develop partnerships to implement state of the art programs that meet the workforce needs of the 21st century.
About The Colorado Health Foundation
The Colorado Health Foundation is bringing health in reach for all Coloradans by engaging closely with communities across the state through investing, policy advocacy, learning and capacity building. For more information, please visit www.coloradohealth.org.
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