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New justice reform program to help train Columbia, Richland County officers

Both the Columbia Police Department and the Richland County Sheriffs' Department have agreed to use the scenario-based role-playing to address racial indifference.

COLUMBIA, S.C. — The Columbia SC Branch of the NAACP on Monday announced a new justice reform program in the Palmetto State, which will be used to train officers with the Columbia Police Department and the Richland County Sheriff's Department. 

Officials with the Columbia NAACP say they served as facilitators to bring together a multi-disciplined group of professionals consisting of academic researchers, faith-based leaders, law enforcement training specialists, mental health experts, social workers and non-profit organizations.

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The organization is called the Communal Race Relations Training Selection Committee (C.R.R.T.S.)

The NAACP Columbia Branch helped with creating a safe space for these professional leaders to move away from their individual silos and engage in the difficult, but important, conversations relating to the presence of racial indifference, implicit bias, transparency, and the need for measurable race-related training within law enforcement.

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Over the past 11 months, officials say CRRTS identified instances of racial indifference and implicit bias within the practice of policing, and then agreed upon a training strategy to remedy the presence of each. 

This strategy includes scenario-based role-playing within law enforcement and measuring the effectiveness of all training. With the help of community volunteers, both the Columbia Police Department and Richland County Sheriffs' Department have agreed to use the scenario-based role-playing to address racial indifference.

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Members of the CRRTS include: 

  • Eric DeVan (100 Black Men)
  • Bishop Eric Freeman, Pastor, Meeting Place Church of Greater Columbia 
  • Police Chief Skip Holbrook, Columbia Police Department
  • Deputy Chief Melron Kelly, Columbia Police Department
  • Dr. Judith McCay, conflict resolution expert
  • Walter Shawn McDaniels, Columbia NAACP Criminal Justice Committee
  • Cpt. Dominique Pagano, Richland County Sheriff's Department 
  • Jasmine Phan, conflict resolution practitioner
  • Charmaine Primus, social worker
  • Valerie Reese, child psychologist
  • Nancy Rhoads, Columbia NAACP Legal Redress Committee
  • Eric Rosdail, S.C. Law Enforcement Division
  • Cpt. JP Williams, Columbia Police Department

To learn more about the CRRTS committee, contact Walter Shawn McDaniels at drmcdee1906@gmail.com or call (803) 705-4683.