Cincy police get cultural diversity training from feds

CINCINNATI, OH (FOX19) - Cincinnati police officers are getting cultural sensitivity training from the U.S. Justice Department.

This is the first time the training has been given to a police department where there have been no incidents of racial or ethnic turmoil.

Deputy Attorney General James Cole told the officers Tuesday that the training will enhance their ability to do their job and set a good example.

"You have a chance to be an ambassador not only for the city of Cincinnati, but for the entire United States of America and it will provide a model for others of how police forces can interact professionally with diverse populations," said Cole.

The training is being held in advance of the World Choir Games which are expected to attract some 200,000 visitors from nearly 50 countries.

Cincinnati has an ethnically diverse population including Sikhs like Jaipla Singh who is also a community relations volunteer with the Cincinnati police and the Department of Justice.

"This is a wonderful opportunity for the Sikh community in particular who has received a great deal of backlash post 9-11, just in terms of mistrust, misunderstanding," says Singh. Singh says that misunderstanding stems mainly because of the Sikh's head coverings.

Cole says that's part of the training. "This class in specific is designed to foster mutual understanding and enhance law enforcement outreach capabilities to Arab, Muslim and Sikh communities by addressing cultural behaviors, sensitivities and stereotypes," he said.

Police academy commander Captain Doug Wiesman says his officers will be better equipped to deal with cultural differences when the World Choir Games come to town. "To learn about many different cultures and the do's and don't of how to interact with different people of different races and different nationalities," said Captain Wiesman.

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