D.C. police recruits are learning about Black history, go-go music and half-smokes. Leaders think it will make them better officers.

 Michael Robinson Chavez/The Washington Post A man pops a wheelie on his motorcycle as he passes in front of Metro Police trainees on a tour given by neighborhood activists and residents in the Woodland Terrace area on May 14 in Washington. The tours are designed to give them a better understanding of the city and its culture.

Brenda Richardson stood before 31 young men and women in their final weeks of training to become D.C. police officers. They were on a street corner in Richardson’s neighborhood in Southeast Washington, where crews from rival streets trade gunfire.

Nearly half the recruits are White, and all but five are from cities and towns outside D.C. Many had never before stepped foot in Woodland Terrace, where Richardson has lived for a quarter century and raised a son.

For a city whose residents long to be policed by their own, many of these recruits — from states that include Florida, Wisconsin, Massachusetts, Indiana and North Carolina — are entering the force at a time of tension and upheaval in policing and as strangers to the streets they will soon protect.

“People have these conceptions that Black people are bad,” she said as she led the recruits through neighborhoods, passing by apartment blocks and into the warrens of public housing to talk with residents. “They have this attitude that Black men in particular are bad. . . . We want you to see that we’re just people.”

Michael Robinson Chavez/The Washington Post Kahliou Settle, 8, left, watches Metro Police trainees during a tour by neighborhood activists and residents in the Woodland Terrace area.

Source: The Washington Post

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