Police implicit bias training postponed


Implicit bias training, slated to begin this month for the Vineyard’s six police departments, has been postponed. 

The postponement wasn’t an easy decision, Edgartown Police Chief Bruce McNamee said, but since many of the instructors would be traveling from across the county, it was deemed prudent as a hedge against COVID-19. He also said some members of the community who were going to participate fell into at-risk groups, and that became a concern.

The Chicago firm Hilliard Heintze was tapped to conduct the training. Martha’s Vineyard Regional High School was the planned location for the training. Chief McNamee said he and Oak Bluffs Police Chief Erik Blake recently toured the high school with Edgartown health agent Matt Poole. It was determined that the training could have been executed safely, McNamee said. Nevertheless, all the national travel the instructors would be doing tipped the scales toward delaying. McNamee said remote training was considered, but a consensus formed that in-person training is what the Island’s police forces wanted. McNamee said he hopes the training will be held in the spring. In the meantime, Vineyard police will continue productive dialogue with local partner groups like the Martha’s Vineyard Diversity Coalition, the NAACP, and the Martha’s Vineyard Social Justice Leadership Foundation.