Cultural competence is defined as “the ability of individuals and systems to respond effectively and respectfully to all people in a manner that recognizes, affirms, values and preserves the dignity of each individual.” And while many may in theory aspire to this, changing national demographics, differences in communication styles and expression of values, as influenced by culture and even individual preferences, can often get in the way.
Executive Diversity Services (EDS) has been in business for more than 28 years providing effective diversity and inclusion training to a broad range of clients. EDS training programs focus on diversity and inclusion issues that can improve both internal and external effectiveness with co-workers and the clients they serve. Participants receive information relevant to their work, have opportunities to increase personal awareness, and learn tools that can be used to improve interpersonal effectiveness across difference.
Among EDS’ clients are the City of Kent and the City of Bremerton Police Departments, where EDS designed and delivered highly successful “Cultural Competence” training programs. “The response from both officers and staff was overwhelmingly positive,” said Elmer Dixon, President of EDS. “This is a critical factor when anticipating whether the tools and techniques learned will be applied.”
EDS customizes all content to meet the specific needs of each client yet has developed an approach specifically designed for Police Departments and the unique challenges they face in serving the public. “Our process begins with a brief assessment to identify specific populations in the service area that are most challenging for the officers and develop case scenarios used in training,” says Dixon.
Examples of the areas we focus on in police work are; learning the implications of differences in communication and conflict styles in service delivery and understanding the role of implicit bias and the need for self-discovery.
While the EDS curriculum has long included modules on implicit bias, there is increased interest in this training by Police Departments in light of current events and the Department of Justice’s New Initiative for Building Community Trust and Justice, a 3-year, $4.75 million partnership between the Justice Department and a consortium of national law enforcement experts, social scientists and evidence-based researchers. According to the DOJ, (as reported by MSNBC) the initiative will invest in training and development in the police force, as well as “research to combat distrust and hostility between law enforcement and the communities they serve.”
“One of our guiding principles is to provide high quality, effective and practical training programs,” says Dixon. “EDS training programs have consistently been rated an average 4.5 on a 5 point scale for overall effectiveness. Training programs EDS has designed for public sector agencies focus on delivering services that are culturally relevant to the populations being served.”
With training now underway with a second police force for the City of Bremerton, EDS is reaching out to Police Departments across the country. Adds Dixon, “We see a need in today’s climate and have a proven curriculum that works.”
To schedule a free consultation or to make a connection with your local police department, please contact Deanna Shoss, Senior Associate and Strategic Partner with EDS.