Tampa Police, Florida Holocaust Museum & ADL launch Human Rights Training

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The Tampa Police Department is the first law enforcement agency in the Southeast to adopt this highly acclaimed course as part of its curriculum. The U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C. and ADL created the training program to ensure law enforcement is learning from history and protecting citizens' rights today. Law Enforcement & Society: Lessons of the Holocaust (LEAS) was established in 1998 for federal law enforcement agencies. Chief Jane Castor attended the course in D.C. last year and was so impressed that she reached out to the Holocaust Museum in St. Petersburg and Florida's ADL to customize the course and train her department. "This training will reinforce our unwavering commitment to treating all individuals with dignity and respect. Police officers are entrusted with a great deal of authority, so it is imperative that as an agency we are always working to ensure our officers are protecting the rights of every person they encounter."

The training kicked off in April when all 22 members of TPD's Command Staff took the course. So far, ADL and FHM have trained more than 250 members of the Tampa Police Department. By mid-2015, every TPD officer will have taken the course that examines and contrasts modern policing in the U.S. against the backdrop of law enforcement's role during the Holocaust.

"ADL is proud to partner with the Tampa Police Department and the Florida Holocaust Museum on this meaningful program," stated Hava Holzhauer, ADL Florida Regional Director. "The takeaway message for the Tampa Police Department upon completion of these trainings will be one of commendation and acknowledgement of how their role in society today signifies a stark contrast from the dark reign of some members of law enforcement during the Holocaust."

Elizabeth Gelman, the Executive Director of the Florida Holocaust Museum, hopes other law enforcement agencies will make the course part of their training curriculum in the future. "We are proud to be able to offer this new initiative to the community and are grateful for Chief Castor's vision in understanding of the importance of this training in modern society," said Gelman. "This program directly resonates with our core purpose of using the lessons of the past to create a better future for all."