News 8 Exclusive: Behind the scenes at Waterbury police cultural diversity and awareness training

New Haven

WATERBURY, Conn. (WTNH) — You might say Waterbury police went back to school Wednesday. About 40 members of law enforcement arrived on campus for cultural diversity and awareness training. News 8 was the only local news team allowed inside.

One of the department’s leading community outreach members led the session.

“The main goal of this class is to make sure that, not to say that we’re not going to have our biases, not to say that we’re not going to have our own belief system, but we need to make sure that we always work objectively, fairly and reasonably,” said Sgt. Jose Diaz. “But we also need to learn where our demographic is coming from so we need to be aware of where our deficiencies are.”

News 8 asked law enforcement members how this type of training could help them improve their jobs on the street and earn back respect from many people of color who may not trust police — given the social protests that have occurred across the country and here at home after police in Minneapolis took a knee to the neck of George Floyd, killing him in the street on video.

“This type of training could be a reminder to calm down a situation,” said Lt. David Silverio. “When it comes to law enforcement, we have to do our job, but we can treat people with dignity and respect.”

“Making sure that we’re more aware and making the necessary changes in order to be better able to serve,” said Detective Roselynn Ramirez. “I want people to be able to trust Waterbury police.”

Their training continues Thursday. They’ll hear from and interact with several different neighborhood and religious groups from across the city.

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