Implicit Bias Training and Mitigation for Minnesota Law Enforcement Agencies



Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts


Human Services

First Advisor

Diane Nelson

Second Advisor

Nick Francis

Third Advisor

Christine Fietek


Racial bias in law enforcement is ethically and legally unacceptable, and law enforcement leaders should strive to eliminate it. Since 2014, implicit bias training has become popular among law enforcement agencies across the United States. In 2017, the Minnesota legislature mandated that all law enforcement agencies provide ongoing implicit bias training to their sworn personnel. Unfortunately, the current scientific research indicates that implicit bias training does not actually reduce implicit bias or biased behavior generally, at least not measurably or consistently. One more promising approach is to create systems and procedures that reduce opportunities for any existing implicit biases to affect an officer’s decision-making. A second more promising approach is to implement high-quality video simulation training for decision-making about the use of lethal force. Finally, the paper proposes a specific seven-part action plan that a Minnesota law enforcement agency could implement to address implicit bias.