Cooper first in U.S. to host inherent bias training for prosecutors

AThe Oakland County Prosecutor’s Office has become the first in the nation to host intensive and interactive inherent bias training through a “Fair & Impartial Justice” seminar hosted Sept. 9-12 by Oakland County Prosecutor Jessica Cooper at the County offices.

Cooper attended a similar seminar for Michigan State Police sponsored by the Michigan Commission on Law Enforcement Standards (MCOLES) earlier this summer.   She was so impressed with the training that she made arrangements to bring the program to her office.  “I felt it was imperative that we get out in front of this issue of how implicit bias impacts perceptions and raise awareness of how those biases, in turn, impact the criminal justice system,” said Cooper.

All 120 members of Cooper’s professional staff attended the seminar, including prosecutors, victim advocates, paralegals, and investigators.  The seminar was led and administered by Fair & Impartial Policing LLC managing partner, Anna Laszlo, who has shared the curriculum throughout the U.S. and Canada, but never to a prosecutor’s office. “Jessica contacted us and made it clear that this was the type of information she really wanted for her staff. She was extremely proactive and wanted to go through the training as soon as possible,” said Laszlo.

The Fair & Impartial Justice training programs administered by Laszlo are audience-specific programs designed to introduce participants to the science of human bias and its implications for effective decision-making. The seminar employed interactive, adult-learning methodologies to fully engage participants in their own learning.  

“The concept of implicit bias affecting decision making is a fairly new concept and law enforcement was the first to recognize it, because of the pressures they’re under, with some of the high-profile cases we’re all familiar with.  But I’m thankful that prosecutors, attorneys and criminal justice professionals are starting to take notice of how important this is,” added Laszlo.