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Police use role-playing in first-of-its-kind anti-bias training program

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Policemen gathered around a table, participating in training program.

In the U.S., implicit bias training has become common among police departments nationwide, but some research has found it might not be working as well as many would hope. Some have found that it might be changing minds but not behavior.

But a new form of training that takes inspiration from an unlikely place –– the theater –– might provide a new and more effective way to impact the hearts and minds of police officers. It just requires some role-playing and light costuming.

The research project, conducted by Nishith Prakash, a professor of public policy and economics at Northeastern University, is one of the largest police training initiatives in the history of India. Working with theater workers, lawyers, NGOs and police officers, Prakash says he and his team spent a year and a half creating a first-of-its-kind anti-gender bias curriculum that involves interactive exercises like role-playing. With the program built around applied theater and expressive arts tool, they then spent the last year implementing it in 12 districts in the Indian state of Bihar, training 3,500 police officers in 422 police stations.

Continue reading at Northeastern Global News.

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