The current conversation about race and criminal justice (#BlackLivesMatter, etc.) is pushing law enforcement agencies to examine their tactics. In recent weeks, the Suffolk County Police Department (Long Island, NY) used a clip from Define American’s film “Documented” as part of the cultural sensitivity training for all Suffolk Police Academy recruits.
Our colleagues at Long Island Wins led the training, which is significant considering the history of police relations in Suffolk County, Long Island. The County’s policing standards were brought to national attention following the 2008 hate crime murder of Ecuadorian immigrant, Marcelo Lucero. This hate crime exposed a decade long history of discriminatory policing against Suffolk County’s immigrant community.
Since then, Suffolk police have made progress in correcting their practices toward the treatment of immigrants. This includes cultural sensitivity training for police recruits by the immigrant advocacy community.
“We included a clip from ‘Documented’ in our training because Jose's story tells the same story of many immigrants living in Suffolk County that the new recruits will be protecting and serving” said Maryann Slutsky, Executive Director of Long Island Wins. “We felt that a clip from "Documented" would be a powerful training tool to begin shifting the dialog toward a more constructive and humanizing narrative around the issue of immigration.”
“After we showed the clip, the recruits became more engaged and it helped them open up to having a more honest discussion on policing in our immigrant communities,” Maryann continued. “The clip helped create a safe space for conversation around the human issue of migration, that we are talking about real human lives and the struggles of navigating a new live in a new home.”
Kudos to the team at Long Island Wins for using Documented in this way! We’re hopeful that the tools we provide at Define American continue to help bridge movements and improve community relationships.