Racial Bias Training

Lake Charles Police officers, along with representatives from other local agencies, took part in a two-part training session this week that sought to prevent unnecessary arrests of minority youths and addresses existing racial bias.

The LCPD was one of four departments nationwide chosen to take part in The Center for Children's Law and Policy Enforcement Leadership for Equity Initiative.

Police Chief Shawn Caldwell said on Thursday that the training — which focuses on improving existing policies — is another tool to help law enforcement and provide more resources to keep juveniles away from crime.

"We have several programs here in Lake Charles that address some of our youths and issues with them," he said.

Capt. Kevin Kirkum said the training teaches officers "how to control their different biases."

"Really, it's all about officers learning to get to know people that don't look like them," he said.

Arrest numbers compiled over the years drew some concern within the department, Kirkum said.

"We were not comfortable within all of the numbers how they were reported, as far as those minorities being arrested versus those that are non-minorities," he said. "Everything that we do concerning our youth is going to reflect what happens to us in the future. So, the sooner we start, the better off we'll be."

Kirkum said the training also mentions alternatives to arresting juvenile offenders. He said youths who end up in jail typically have a higher recidivism rate than others who are given diversion methods.

"Every child does not deserve to go to jail," he said. "These children need services."

Along with the training, the LCPD will get $10,000 to pay for improving partnerships within minority communities.

The Center for Children's Law and Policy worked with the W.K. Kellogg Foundation.

Other agencies that took part in the training included the Calcasieu Parish Office of Juvenile Justice, Ward 3 Marshal's Office, Family and Youth Counseling Agency and the Department of Children and Family Services.

Calcasieu Parish Government and Cameron Parish Reporter

More from this section

State Farm insurance is now utilizing drone technology to assess damage after significant weather events on residential and commercial properties. The drone team was in Southwest Louisiana Thursday to assess damage after last week’s severe storms which resulted in wind and hail damage for hu…

Eighteen officers with the Calcasieu Parish Sheriff’s Office trained on Wednesday to become master underwater criminal investigators.Divers practiced recovering a sanitized vehicle that was dumped and sank to the bottom of the dive pond. The car landed upside down, and the team had to attach…

  • Updated

More than a dozen residents gathered at the SEED Center on Wednesday to discuss the Civil Rights movement in Southwest Louisiana, along with other notable events and figures in African American history. The information will be collected to help shape a Civil Rights trail in Louisiana.

  • Updated

Lake Charles College Prep hosted a STEM Demo Day for its ninth and 10th grade student with the charter system’s new director of Director of STEM, Julian Guillory. In his demonstration, Guillory utilized architectural visualization, video game programming software and Optitrack motion capture…