The Sherman Police Department recently underwent annual racial profiling training to maintain positive relations with the public.

The Sherman Police Department recently underwent annual racial profiling training to maintain positive relations with the public.


All officers were required to attend the training, which was held Friday and Monday and taught by Dr. Alex Del Carmen, Sherman Police Chief Otis Henry said. Del Carmen is a criminologist who has conducted racial profiling training with police chiefs across the state since 2001 and has been working with the Sherman PD for more than 10 years. In addition to conducting the training, the Sherman PD also contracts Del Carmen to analyze information and statistics to ensure that SPD officers are not racially profiling.


"We try to be proactive," Henry said. "It’s the law, but it’s also important for the community to know that we are aware that racial profiling is a problem. … We believe this training is the right thing to do."


Del Carmen’s racial profiling training goes "beyond the basics," Del Carmen said. The curriculum not only covers laws on the subject but also delves into the history of race relations in the United States, including slavery and the civil rights movement. Other topics covered include liability issues and recent case studies.


"We talk about the public’s perception of the police," Del Carmen said. "In this case, over the past year we’ve had Ferguson, we’ve had Baltimore and several similar incidents. So we obviously talk about those."


It is important for this kind of training to be held annually, he said, since "a lot can change" over time. In the 10 years that Del Carmen has been teaching Sherman police officers, new data and new incidents have emerged that law enforcement officers can learn from.


Del Carmen commended the Sherman PD administration for continuing to have its officers undergo the training because "it’s something that they don’t have to do" and it helps foster a positive relationship between the police and the public.


"I think that the training is a reminder of the importance of dialogue and of reaching out to the community. I often tell law enforcement, they couldn’t survive a day without the support of law-abiding citizens in the community," Del Carmen said.


Henry agreed.


"We have a symbiotic relationship with the public," Henry said. "We need each other."