Police

After killing of George Floyd, California’s Community college chancellor wants to reform how police are trained

WLA Guest
Written by WLA Guest

By Mikhail Zinshteyn, CALmatters

Eloy Ortiz Oakley wants to change how police officers in California are trained.

Oakley is the chancellor of the state’s 115 community colleges and consequently oversees one of the largest training networks for California police. Eighty percent of police officers in California get training at a community college, according to the college system.

Eloy Ortiz Oakley, Chancellor of California Community Colleges

Oakley said today that law enforcement curriculum at the community colleges needs a review to make sure it does a better job reflecting the experiences of black Californians and other people of color. The police killing of George Floyd, a Minnesota man arrested because of a suspected counterfeit $20 bill, sparked nationwide protests and led to Oakley’s comments.

A systemwide review of police and first-responder training and curriculum at the community colleges would require a vote from the system’s Board of Governors. The next meeting of the board is in July, and Oakley, reached by CalMatters by phone at a protest in Newport Beach, said he didn’t plan to put such a review to a vote yet.

“We need to take a hard look at what we are teaching our students, what that curriculum signals to our students, and how we can change that,” Oakley said of courses that future and current police personnel take.

The move may have a profound effect on future law enforcement agencies in the state. Most of California’s police officers receive academic training at the state’s community colleges, either as students or as current officers receiving additional training. More than 100 colleges offer courses in administration of justice, a common gateway into policing.

Oakley’s call to action capped off a two-hour public town hall that featured black, Latino, Asian and white California community college executives and professors fulminating against racism in American society.

“Black suffering is so deeply embedded that it has been taken for granted, so much so that America has become addicted to black death,” said Pamela Haynes, vice president of the Board of Governors that oversees the California Community Colleges. She said every male in her family has had an incident with law enforcement in California, ranging from “driving while black” to incarceration.

Pamela Haynes, Vice President of California Community Colleges’ Board of Governors

Blacks are arrested and imprisoned in California at disproportionately higher rates. For example, while 6% of the state is black, 25% of the jail population is black as well.

Oakley said a “review of police instruction” would entail making sure curriculum better reflects the lived experience of people of color. He also emphasized challenging the biases current and future police officers possess about different ethnic and racial communities.

Instruction alterations should lead to “improving policing, particularly in communities of color,” said the army veteran, who yesterday urged current and former members of the military to “reject any discussion (or order) to take up arms against our own citizens” in a Tweet.

Changing what current and future law enforcement personnel learn would require multiple steps: Local college faculty have to agree on curriculum overhauls and local trustees that oversee one or more campuses need to approve these changes as well. Oakley also suggested that the board of governors can influence what local colleges do because of the board’s say in how campuses receive funding.

While he will not ask for a vote regarding instruction review or changes in July, Oakley plans to advocate for it in the meantime. He also signaled ongoing discussion with the board to put more teeth into the reforms he seeks. Oakley will lay out his vision at the July board meeting.

Many of the speakers at the virtual town hall described the personal grief they experienced learning of the death of Floyd.

“I have yet to fully process how I internalize the repetitive trauma of seeing black bodies dead in the street,” said Edward Bush, president of Cosumnes River College.

On May 25 Minneapolis Police Officer Derek Chauvin subdued George Floyd and pressed his knee on Floyd’s neck for nearly nine minutes, ignoring pleas from Floyd that he could not breathe. After Chauvin was initially not arrested for killing Floyd, protests broke out in every state, leading the police department to fire Chauvin and charge him with third-degree murder on May 29. That charge was later changed to second-degree murder. The three other officers were also fired and charged with aiding and abetting second-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter, CBS News reported.

Frank Chong, president of Santa Rosa Junior College, called Floyd’s death “a culmination of 400 years of oppression.” He said during the town hall that “no one is free until we are all free.”

“The killing of Mr. Floyd reminds us that long before the COVID-19 pandemic, we had another epidemic in this nation: The legally sanctioned and systematically structured brutality and destruction of black people,” said Regina Stanback Stroud, chancellor of the Peralta Community College District in the Bay Area.

During the town hall, Oakley showed five other reforms he wants colleges to pursue,  including having every college become more inclusive and develop an anti-racist curriculum.

In May, Oakley presented to the Board of Governors a report that interviewed black community college students and their families about their academic and social experiences on campus. Some of the major findings included students saying they had a lack of awareness about available financial aid programs, feelings of isolation due to there being few black students or professors on campus and misleading academic information that students felt were motivated by racial biases.

While the system has been working to become more inclusive and mindful of racial differences in student access and outcomes, Oakley said, “the death of George Floyd prompted us, me, many of us to answer the question, what can we do?”

Improving instruction for what future and current police officers learn “is certainly one place where we can do something,” he said.


Mikhail Zinshteyn is a higher education reporter at CALmatters where this story first appeared.

26 Comments

  • The problem is that Derek Chauvin was being an asshole; he had gotten away with being an asshole for a good, long time, and evidently thrived on being an asshole in the Minneapolis Police Department.

    The police culture in which assholes can thrive is what needs to change, not police academy curriculum that already teaches against police misconduct.

  • What’s this idiot’s background in LE? He ever work the streets in a minority neighborhood and help others (especially strangers whose skin color doesn’t matter when help is needed)?
    Looks like he has not ever fought for his life of anything at all.
    Wonder how many of Ms.Haynes’ family members have been victimized by other blacks? I’m betting the number is a lot higher than negative encounters with LE. Nice example- I’m a victim! Ridiculous!!!

  • Its amazing how police feel the community owns them whatever they want. Police are employees like the rest of us. Why do you deserve a 100% retirement plan and 100% paid medical coverage when the rest is dont have the same luxury. Cities are going broke supporting the police department. Time for major reform to police pay and benefits .

    We cant stand by while police departments bankrupt cities

    • Frank, Frank, Frank…

      Do you know that some cops in this country are so poorly paid they have to work second jobs?

      Do you truly believe that everyone that is an employee has earned the same retirement, the same benefits and presumably you might feel, the same salary?

      Do you feel that your employer owes you a fair salary based on your job description and perhaps any special skills or knowledge you bring to the table; perhaps a college degree, bilingual skills, specialized training and abilities?

      If there was ever a time for agencies to hire thoughtful, intelligent, and well educated young people into the world of law enforcement, it’s now. If you think that will happen by reducing pay and benefits, you are living in a fool’s paradise.

    • Frank ok great then stand by and watch gangsters run wild can’t wait to see the crime stats after this summer gangsters are already going back to posting up and doing drive bys you want law enforcement defunded me too can’t wait to watch the resulting carnage lie in the anti police bed you have made , Idiot

  • Frank’s comments and other like minded, cough CF, are rooted in jealousy, hate and disdain for the police pure and simple. Individuals like this will criticize someone for taking a job that puts their safety and life at risk everyday in order to enforce the laws that keep our society “civil”. Do they ever criticize politicians, judges and lawyers who make way more money in terms of salary, benefits and “perks” without the the risk of life or limb? Do they criticize fireman? Do they criticize the YouTube or Facebook programmer who makes six figures for sitting behind a computer monitor? None of these jobs involves (except for fireman) the inherent risks factored in daily that the individual may not come home from work. None of these jobs has to deal with the most unpredictable and dangerous individuals day in and day out. None of these jobs has to deal with someone having the deliberate malicious intent to try and kill you just for trying to do your job.

    Get a grip and stop trying to make an arguement to defund law enforcement. You will get your wish through natural attrition and the sheer fact people like you, the media and pandering political leaders are doing a “bang up job” to use broad brush strokes to “villianize” an entire profession and disuade future generations from going into the career anyway.

    Maybe it’s time to buy property in that “socialist utopia” of PRC as this country slowly degenerates into a place no one will want to live in.

  • “Blacks are arrested and imprisoned in California at disproportionately higher rates. For example, while 6% of the state is black, 25% of the jail population is black as well.”

    Men are disproportionately arrested and imprisoned at higher rates as well. Stop this injustice now and arrest and imprison all women. #Womenprivilege

    • “Blacks are arrested and imprisoned in California at disproportionately higher rates.”

      Agreed!!!

      The fastest way to rectify that problem is to arrest more whites, and the fastest way to get to that goal is to intensify pro-active policing in the white neighborhoods.

      Never mind that few white neighborhoods generate police calls.

      A good pro-active cop will find something.

  • Back in the 80’s and 90’s African American leaders demanded more and better policing because their communities where experiencing higher levels of violent crime. Along came Community Orientated Policing. They wanted that and policing based on the broken windows theory. Bill Clinton supported both and passed a huge crime bill in 1994 funding such. Now it’s, “take money away from the police”, to fund community based organizations! Oh but not those evil Christian based organizations. Liberals who supported Bill stand for nothing. They will do and say anything to gain and stay in power. Business leaders, people of faith, conservatives and moderates…. today it’s the police. Tomorrow they are coming for you. You saw businesses being looted and persons being assaulted and the response from politicians was to vilify the police. No more than a yawn for those who were assaulted and lost the businesses.

    • Well said seeking the truth you forgot how they got rid of cal gangs (essentially) and injunctions (which worked) it’s gona be comical to watch the violence that is about to be unleashed on these protestors by local gangsters in the new “no policing “ era

  • I wonder if….NOOOOO….it’s NOT possible, but….do you guys think the problem maybe ISN’T the police??

    Is it possible that, like every other country where blacks account for a disproportionate amount of crime (even countries where slavery can’t be blamed), it MIGHT be a problem THEY need to fix?

    I know it’s sounds stupid to suggest that a culture which glorifies lawlessness and hating cops through their rich and beautiful hip-hop tunes and where 72% of their kids are born to unwed mothers (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/African-American_family_structure) MIGHT need to do some introspection, but it might be worth a try.

    An incredibly brave, honest and brilliant man:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IFqVNPwsLNo

    • I will continue to pray for you LASD Apostle… Correct me if I’m wrong, Your worked 2000/3000 floor. You waited for all your boys at the end of shift and walked to the locker room together, you then waited in the hallway of MCJ together, then waited outside the gates of MCJ to walk with one another, you were so devoted to your crew, you followed them to the same station. Based on the stations you suggested you worked at, your a follower.

      I may be wrong……..but since your assuming and suggesting I’ll go further. You were no good a sports, your short, didn’t get the ladies and were probably picked on.

      You wanted to be popular so you joined the Local gang, you were to soft for the neighborhood gang…….so LASD was the right choice.

      I might be wrong about thee above, but I’m sure the beautiful hip hop tunes you mentioned Are on your ITunes play list.

      Anyway, I don’t know you so I won’t judge you, so how about you stop judging African Americans and they life.

      CAUSE YOU DONT KNOW IT

      SMH, it’s guys with your mindset that truly should not rep the Tan n Green, however all you need is a Good Enuff Diploma, be of age, no convictions.

      Remember LASD APOSTLE it’s easy to work in LE, just sign up. It takes a little talent to become a successful rich rapper.

      BTW I’m sure you have several rich rappers ringing in your ear daily.

      PS I’ll continue to pray for you and the rest of those on the department that think like you. It’s a lot of you that suit up everyday and I see you, best believe I see you and I’m watching all of you very closely.

      12, the boys, the fuzz, 1 time, hoods etc etc etc are a contributing factor. If all society was dealt an even playing field across the board, things would be different for all races.

      Anyway, I’ll pray for you cause based on some of the comments I read of yours, I wonder what illegal activities have you committed under the color of authority to those of color.

      Be easy, be safe, stay blessed and the true Apostles would be appalled at your screen name.

      And 1

  • Ooooooops on the topic, cultural diversity, ethics, decision making and better communication skills is a must for training. It would help a lot of those uneducated officers/deputies who lack in those areas.

    Just food for thought.

  • And 1, my take on you is that, IF you’re black, you’re one of the good ones (I mean that), the majority of black people. Trust me, I hate hip hop. I genuinely consider it trash. Hate may sound strong, but beside having no melody and stupid, incoherent, racist and misogynistic lyrics, it is corrosive to the black “culture” and contributes to the problems we’re having today. But it’s not a black thing, I also hate Metal.

    Cops are NOT who you think they are. I could recount SO many stories from patrol of deputies showing kindness and consideration for good people who were in need (and happened to be black or Latino). But those stories would be lost on you because they don’t fit the narrative of brutal occupiers who “hunt” black men to kill them.

    I DO know one thing, blacks aren’t special. They may be the loudest, but other races have undergone just as much, if not more, suffering. South of us, an amazing people and culture wasn’t enslaved, they were wiped out, literally bred (or raped) out of existence to become mestizos (mixed race) with only a few indigenous people remaining. My mestizo father came here as an adult, with nothing, and swept floors in a factory. He told stories of killing and eating dogs and cats at one point to survive in Mexico.

    I don’t think I need to tell you about Native Americans, or the Chinese (Exclusion Act), or the Japanese internment, or the Irish who were once considered dogs. Of course the Jews have NEVER been persecuted or looked down upon throughout history (especially in Germany in the late 30’s).

    The difference is they’ve all worked hard, DESPITE racism and hatred, and didn’t develop a culture of victimhood. Blacks will continue to be victims because that’s how they SEE themselves. Save your prayers for me….pray that blacks move forward, work hard, change their culture to one that glorifies hard work, education and the two parent family. I hope you watched what Larry Elder had to say….he might, MIGHT, change a couple of your views.

  • Lmao, come on LASD Apostle…..you and I both know we all have these attention seekers amongst us. I don’t remember how the lyrics go “but you hate hip hoppidy hop anyway”, however the lyrics suggest that if someone is not hating on you, then your not getting attention. Your girl here that you pointed out is seeking attention. I could go on social media right now, state who I am, my credentials, go against the grain and become a star. Just saying, but she has her opinion as we all have.

    If Floyd was a career criminal, facing his third strike and had just committed his final last strike…..he didn’t deserve to be killed.

    Us here on witness LA come from a variety of backgrounds, upbringings, cultures etc etc etc….so we have our own opinions as does the rest of the world.

    But I do think we all agree that Mr. Floyd “rather, black, white, Jew or gentile” should not have been treated as he was on that day.

    LASD Apostle, even though we disagree on a lot of things. Based on your training and experience, what you only saw in the video alone. Was that officer in the right in the manner in which he killed Mr. Floyd.

    Unwed mothers and two family homes plays a very important role.

    BTW……a lot of those mentioned received their 40acres and a mule. They were given boots and the bootstraps to overcome the oppression they were faced with.

    Black were never and when they did build black Wall Street “the man” cam through and tore it down.

    But we all got our opinions and I respect that, you make your change and now it’s time for me to make mind. When you hear the program go into motion, just remember And 1 was behind.

    Stay Blessed,

    Time to put on this tan and green Superman suit, ugly ass gold belt buckle. What was he thinking wasting County money.

    Lol

  • From 1877 to 1950, more than 4,400 black men, women, and children were lynched by white mobs, according to the Equal Justice Initiative. Black people were shot, skinned, burned alive, bludgeoned, and hanged from trees. Lynchings were often conducted within sight of the institutions of justice, on the lawns of courthouses. Some historians say the violence against thousands of black people who were lynched after the Civil War is the precursor to the vigilante attacks and abusive police tactics still used against black people today, usually with impunity.
    Floyd’s death came six weeks after police in Louisville, Kentucky, fatally shot Breonna Taylor, a 26-year-old black woman, during a midnight “no-knock” raid on her home. It came 10 weeks after the killing of Ahmaud Arbery, a 25-year-old black man, who was chased down by a white father and son in a pickup truck as he jogged in his neighborhood in Glynn County, Georgia.

    Soo LASD Apostle……lets say for what ever argument you have about Mr Floyd…..should a Blackman running or black woman sleeping in her bed have the same equal justice of others.

    How about the Blackman that was killed by the white cop in his own house, come on my fellow tan n green. You have to see something wrong with some of these killings.

  • 1950? You mean when Harry Truman was in the White House? Sheeez! 4,400 in SEVENTY THREE years? No doubt, horrible crimes….but for perspective:

    In ONE year, 2016, 2570 blacks were killed by….wait for it….other blacks.

    https://ucr.fbi.gov/crime-in-the-u.s/2016/crime-in-the-u.s.-2016/tables/expanded-homicide-data-table-3.xls

    They also killed more than 500 whites. So I think they’ve MORE than evened the score with whites and are killing WAY more blacks than whites ever lynched.

    Ridiculous. It’s not racist to state facts, it’s racist to ignore them.

  • LASD Apostle Stay Blessed and Be Safe My Brotha, I say that because we wear the same color suit to support our families, not because I agree with you. We all have opinions, but we all aren’t dealt the same a to have choices. If that was the case, these cries from the ghetto would not be. Thank God for Jesus you and I made it out, I’m sure there are many you and I know that didn’t.

    I’ve lost and left behind many, but I don’t think I’m better than any of them. The tan n Green is a job, it provides for our family. I suited up so those where I come from would have a chance and maybe know they 2 could suit up and make change in their communities.

    Be safe out there LASD Apostle, I’ll keep living the dream and hope that my sons son will one day not have to live in fear of the police. I’ve been in this game for more than 20 years and I myself still fear the police and I am the police.

    You’ve never walked in our shoes, so don’t judge a man of which you’ve never met, nor walked the same road of his shoes.

    Stay blessed my brother and you continue to wear the tan n green for what ever reason ye shall, just make sure it’s the right reason.

    https://www.instagram.com/tv/CAxmeN7H6eS/?igshid=n4duhjxrnu3z

    And 1

  • Folks:

    To return to the topic at hand: “California’s Community College Chancellor wants to reform how police are trained.”

    Derek Chauvin.

    Remember him?

    He received a Baccalaureate in Law Enforcement from Metropolitan State University in 2006.

    Metropolitan State is a part of the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities System.

    Its Criminology curricula is not unlike that in CSU’s (California State University) curricula.

    Do we have more Derek Chauvin’s coming down the pike via CSU?

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