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Posted on: June 4, 2020

Training and tools identify and reduce bias and conflict


The Cleveland County Sheriff’s Office has been conducting Racial Intelligence Training and Engagement classes for employees since fall 2018. As new employees are hired, additional classes are hosted to bring them up to speed. In 2018, 177 employees went through the RITE training out of approximately 180 employees. In 2019, an additional 59 Sheriff’s Office employees completed the training including the few who missed out on the earlier training plus new hires.

So far in 2020, another 24 people have completed the training.

Classes include employees from all ranges of jobs from deputies to clerical positions and mixes minorities throughout the groups so that class discussions include a historical context from those who have felt the effects of racism and bias first hand.

RITE’s Professional Workplace Training is nationally recognized in creating a bias-free, harassment-free workplace. Classes include tools to promote learning long after the class is over, namely to use emotional (inner) intelligence and social intelligence to equal racial intelligence to better serve the community.

Emotional Intelligence is the ability to identify and manage your own emotions and notice the emotions of others. It aids in harnessing and applying Emotional Intelligence into tasks like thinking and problem solving when in stressful situations.

Social Intelligence is social engagement with others and understanding the social situation in treating others fairly. When Emotional Intelligence and Social Intelligence are combined and used together, you have Racial Intelligence, which is the ability to recognize someone’s differences so that you can treat them respectfully with consideration and empathy. It allows you to grow personally and professionally.

RITE trainings include deep discussions over sensitive topics and solutions including:

• Bias-Free policing – The NEW Cultural Diversity

• De-escalation with Emotional and Social Intelligence

• Career Resiliency with Mental Health Awareness

• Officer Wellness – 6th Pillar of 21st Century Policing

• Implicit Bias and Critical Thinking – Avoid Block Out

• Professional Workplace Culture

• Leadership team-building and Action plan initiatives

• PTSD awareness for open-door communication

• Workplace Harassment Training – Bully-free workplace

At the end of the training, each person signs a pledge committing to use the principles of RITE to keep the peace and “de-escalate where possible to better serve the public,” as well as to respect others and to adhere to agency policies regarding ethics and integrity.  

Additionally, Cleveland County Sheriff’s Office deputies and detention officers are regularly trained in recognizing mental health crises and how to de-escalate situations where a person experiencing crisis may not respond in expected ways.

Our Emerging Leaders training deals with ethics, workplace culture and the importance of role models in law enforcement and is free to all employees. Training provided by Lexipol, Academy Hour and LocalGov.U deal with topics ranging from mental health to appropriate use of force, while tools like our less lethal shotguns allow for a range of ways to control situations without the need for lethal force while still providing safety in situations that historically resulted in potentially deadly outcomes.

Our commitment to 21st Century, community police practices is implemented through a broad range of tools and training, starting at the top with the culture of our leadership and our mission, vision and values. 

Our Mission: The Cleveland County Sheriff’s Office exists to Courageously Protect by standing between good and evil, while we Compassionately Serve by putting others before ourselves. By doing so we seek to defend life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness for all persons.

Our Vision: We believe in inspiring positive success by transforming one life at a time.

Our Values: INTEGRITY — Doing the right thing while simultaneously being accountable TRANSPARENCY— Openly displaying our stewardship of the people’s Office. RELATIONSHIPS— People matter and partnerships increase effectiveness. HUMILITY— Accurately assessing ourselves as we stay grounded. INNOVATION— Continuously seeking opportunities to improve.

We will never be perfect, but we have the policies, procedures, training and equipment in place to create a culture that identifies and eliminates bias while giving employees tools to des-escalate conflict.

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