Cultural awareness training for Tucson PD recruits

TUCSON, Ariz. (KGUN) – There’s a new lesson you’ll learn as you join the Tucson Police Department.

“It is very important for these recruits to learn early on how to best approach Latinos,” said Claudia Jasso of ‘Amistades’.

The training in this case is a classroom.

“It is really important for them to understand how to respect the cultural nuances of Latino and the things that are important to Latinos.”

‘Amistades’, or Friendships in English, is a non-profit group specializing in cultural development that organized this training program.

What they are developing now, they said, is a connection between new officers in the force and the Tucson Latino community.

“It’s not ‘we’ or ‘us versus them’ and that we can really work together as a community,” said Jasso.

The KGUN9 cameras were allowed to enter in the first half hour of their training.

Topics ranged from the history between Mexico and the United States to stereotypes of different cultures.

One could see hesitation among the recruits, not an obstacle, said Jasso, the chief development officer at Amistades.

“It’s not that they don’t want to understand and that they are resilient, they really are in a place where they learn.”

She said there is a lot more to the course than just what we’ve seen, and these future officers usually get more involved as the course progresses.

“I think there is a lot going on in their heads, there is a lot of information to process, and it is not always the most pleasant thing to talk about.”

This class of recruits, some from other agencies, is only the second to take the course.

Tucson Police said the course began after two deaths in custody in 2020 and will be part of their overall training.

Jasso said it won’t solve every problem at once.

“There’s never anything that is a silver bullet. It’s really part of having discussions and seeing what works and what doesn’t.”

This class of TPD recruits will update their classes after they graduate in July.


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