A look at how police department training factors into incidents of police violence and brutality will be the focus of the next Conversations on Race and Policing at Cal State San Bernardino.

Before the Badge: How Academy Training Shapes Police Violence,” written by Samantha Simon, University of Arizona professor, will be discussed at noon Monday, March 11, on Zoom. The program, free and open to the public, can be accessed from a PC, Mac, Linux, iOS or Android at https://tinyurl.com/csusb-race-policing.

Simon, an assistant professor in the School of Government and Public Policy and the School of Sociology at the University of Arizona, “spent a year at police academies participating in the training alongside cadets, giving her a visceral, hands-on understanding of how police training operates,” the publisher’s website for her book states. “Using rich and detailed examples, she reveals that the process does more than test a cadet’s physical or intellectual abilities. Instead, it socializes cadets into a system of state violence. As training progresses, cadets are expected to see themselves as warriors and to view Black and Latino/a members of the public as their enemies.”

Simon's research has been supported by the National Science Foundation, Russell Sage Foundation and the American Association for University Women, among others. Her work has been published in top-tier peer-reviewed journals, including in Social Problems; Law & Society Review; Qualitative Sociology; and Gender, Work & Organization. She has a Ph.D. in sociology from the University of Texas at Austin and a bachelor's degree from the University of Pennsylvania.

The Conversations on Race and Policing program began after the murder of George Floyd on May 25, 2020, and its aftermath. Floyd, a Black man, was killed by a white Minneapolis police officer, triggering extensive protests, demands for systemic reform in policing, and profound dialogues on race and racism. This also led to the inception of Cal State San Bernardino’s Conversations on Race and Policing, abbreviated as CoRP.

In subsequent court cases, three other former Minneapolis police officers implicated in Floyd’s death were given prison sentences.

The series has featured scholars, journalists, law enforcement officers, lawyers, activists, artists, educators, administrators and others from throughout the nation who shared their experience and expertise on issues related to race and policing.

One hundred forums have taken place since, and video recordings of the sessions are posted online on the Conversations on Race and Policing Lecture Series Archive. 

Upcoming programs, which will all take place at noon on Zoom, include:

The series is organized by Matt Patino (CSUSB alumnus and adjunct faculty member at Crafton Hills College); CSUSB faculty members Mary Texeira (sociology) and Jeremy Murray (history); Robie Madrigal, public affairs/communication specialist for the CSUSB John M. Pfau Library; Michael German, fellow at the Brennan Center for Justice; and community member Stan Futch, president of the Westside Action Group.

For more information, contact Madrigal at rmadriga@csusb.edu or Murray at jmurray@csusb.edu.

Also visit the Conversations on Race and Policing webpage.