NAACP Police Task Force defends MPD diversity and sensitivity training
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NAACP Police Task Force defends MPD diversity and sensitivity training

September 18, 2000

Chief Charles Ramsey
Metropolitan Police Department
300 Indiana Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20001

Re: Diversity Awareness and Sensitivity Training

Dear Chief Ramsey:

It has come to our attention that MPD has abruptly ended the Diversity Awareness and Sensitivity Training Program (DASTP) administered by UDC. You will recall that at our meeting with you earlier this year, you pledged commitment to the DASTP, and even considered aloud that the program not only continue to be implemented at the Academy, but in the district roll calls, as well. Nevertheless, the very same arguments against the DASTP that were carefully debated in your meeting with us, have resurfaced, and are being used to justify this sudden action.

The argument that UDC's multi-cultural DASTP does not comply with the Justice Department's (DOJ) mandated sensitivity requirements for one cultural community --that is the Latino community-- makes no sense at all. Sensitivity compliance for one community should not come at the expense of other communities. If, in fact, the DOJ has rendered that opinion, please forward a copy to us.

One can neither substitute officers' direct interaction with community groups, nor ignore the positive evaluations submitted by the officers themselves after participating in the DASTP. In the current climate of tension between citizens and police in our area and throughout the country, and in light of your own attendance at the Redeem the Dream March, we cannot imagine that MPD wants to send a message of cultural insensitivity. We find this matter to be truly a case of the unbroken being unnecessarily fixed.

In that you left the door open for future meetings with our Task Force, we believe now is an appropriate time because sensitivity classes were scheduled for this week. Please contact me at (202)217-9288 to arrange a time within the next few days.

We look forward to hearing from you soon.

Sincerely,

Mark Thompson, Chair
The NAACP Metropolitan Police & Criminal Justice Review Task Force
and on behalf of the following organizations

Bob Summersgill
Gay and Lesbian Activists Alliance
of Washington, D.C.

Francey Lim Youngberg
Access to Justice Partnerships
Mary Jane DeFrank
ACLU of the National Capital Area
of Washington, D.C.

Wayne Turner
ACT UP Washington, D.C.
Anne Marie Staudenmaier
Washington Legal Clinic
for the Homeless
Luis Cardona, Member
Citizen Advisory Council
D.C. Latino Police Task Force
Hispanic Assn. Of Police Commanders

Cheryl Epps, Esq.

cc: Anthony Williams, Mayor
Margaret Neddelkoff-Kellams, Deputy Mayor for Public Safety
Terence Gainer, Asst. Executive Chief
Harold Brazil, Chairman, Committee on the Judiciary
Steven Rosenbaum, Department of Justice


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