Media release

Providence Police Department announces Foundation-funded training

Providence Police Department announces active de-escalation, fair and impartial policing, and implicit bias awareness training for all officers and recruits, as part of broader equity-focus within the department.

The Providence Police Department today announced that the 400+ members of the department will receive the most current Active De-escalation training, accompanied by Fair & Impartial Policing and Implicit Bias Awareness training by the end of 2021, made possible through funding support from the Rhode Island Foundation.

This training will be conducted by KFD Training & Consultation, LLC, who provides such training to all Rhode Island police departments, via the Rhode Island Municipal Police and Rhode Island State Police Training divisions, and has been reviewed and approved by the United States Department of Justice.

“Equity is rooted in all the work we do in Providence,” said Mayor Jorge O. Elorza. “We all have biases and they influence our actions and decision-making. Advancing racial and social justice requires each of us to look inside ourselves and to eliminate these biases so that we can provide the best services to our residents and be a more inclusive and welcoming community.”

“We are committed to educating our officers through bias training, both implicit and explicit, and also furthering their knowledge on the concepts and practical aspects of procedural justice, respect, legitimacy and fairness towards members of the community,” said Colonel Hugh T. Clements, Jr. “The Providence Police Department is dedicated to serving the citizens of Providence to the best of our ability and developing skills to avoid confrontation and utilizing de-escalation methods and/or distraction techniques will give our officers the necessary tools for successful resolution of conflict when responding to calls.”

$124,000 in funding from the Rhode Island Foundation will support the cost of the training and overtime compensation for a portion of the department, to ensure that officers are able to participate in the trainings without disrupting staffing levels during assigned shifts.

“When considering investments to impact systemic racism, the criminal justice system is an obvious place to focus,” said Neil D. Steinberg, President & CEO of the Rhode Island Foundation. “This is a significant investment for the Foundation, in support of the Providence Police Department’s commitment to participating in this de-escalation and implicit bias training for all members of the force. We also understand that addressing culture, hiring, and ingrained racism are also key priorities facing many law enforcement institutions across the country. Our hope is that Providence can set an example for others to quickly follow. This grant funding awarded to the Providence Police Department is part of the Foundation’s increased commitment to advancing diversity, equity, inclusion, and access, announced last fall.”

Under the leadership of Mayor Elorza, Colonel Clements, and Commissioner Paré, the Providence Police Department Community Relations Bureau was established in 2017 to “foster, enhance, and maintain” the relationships between the police and the citizens of Providence.

“Part of the mission of our Community Relations Bureau is to support and expand the value system of community policing that should infuse all aspects of the department,” said Commissioner Steven M. Paré. “The training opportunities that will take place thanks to this funding are aligned with the three pillars of community policing and crime reduction strategies: partnership, prevention and problem solving. In addition, we are proud to announce that this training will be incorporated into the PPD Training Academy curriculum, allowing recruits to be prepared for these encounters before they begin working in the Patrol Bureau.”

“This is one of the many intentional proactive steps needed to ensure that those who have taken an oath to ‘serve and protect’ are well trained and consciously aware of how their implicit bias informs their decisions,” said Dr. Jeffery A. Williams, Founder and Director, The Kings Cathedral Church. “This level of commitment both in terms of time and money speaks to desperation and urgency felt by the community-at-large and the leadership of the Providence Police Department to create a Beloved Community.”