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Local law enforcement undergoes additional ethics training to combat racism

YWCA receives statewide grant to implement racial and cultural training for Winnebago and Boone County law enforcement agencies
Published: Nov. 30, 2020 at 6:30 PM CST
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ROCKFORD, Ill. (WIFR) - “You can’t get to a healing situation if you’re not understanding where each person is standing,” said Youth Women Christian’s Association CEO, Kris Machajewski.

Empathy is a reoccurring term many of are hearing lately, as the United States faces a historic collision of health, economic and social crises. It’s also a term and action item heard often at the YWCA, which will train Winnebago and Boone County law enforcement agencies to confront racial and cultural biases.

“We rely on past experiences to help us make these little decisions all day long, and if we’re not really careful, we can allow those implicit biases to color our judgment,” said Machajewski.

Kris Machajewski leads the YWCA in Rockford, and said those biases harm all marginalized groups, such as members of the LGBTQ+ community, people of color and those coming from difference economic backgrounds. She says opening the dialogue in this state-granted training is the first step in evoking change.

“It gives them the framework to be able to have a conversation, understand where someone is, and to be able to have a conversation around the topic,” said Machajewski.

Winnebago County Sherriff, Gary Caruana’s department was the first agency to undergo the training this afternoon.

“We’re all different people and we all come from different backgrounds and different cultures but that doesn’t make them wrong,” said Caruana.

Caruana said the key to unification, on both law enforcement and the community, is awareness and taking the time to understand each other.

“I think that’s what the greater good is. We can come together and communicate,” said Caruana.

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