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Bedford Police Chief, Officers Receive Cultural Competency Training

Bedford Police Chief Melvin Padilla
Bedford Police Chief Melvin Padilla Photo Credit: Contributed

BEDFORD, N.Y. -- Melvin Padilla, chief of police for the town of Bedford and 29 other officers, recently received cultural competency training from Neighbors Link to earn a better understanding of cultures in the town and neighboring communities.

It was offered free of charge to the police department with the generous help of Northern Westchester Hospital and its Community Health Education and Outreach.          Padilla said the program enhanced training he previously received.

“The approach was more interactive and situational," he said. "Through discussion and sharing, we got a better understanding of the different cultures in the town and neighboring community. The training brings awareness to differences and we try to be approachable with the minority community so that they feel comfortable reporting to us.”            In 2012, 30 Mount Kisco police officers received the same training. The following year, 400 county police officers received the training through the Department of Public Safety of Westchester County Police, which is responsible for in-service training. Kerry Flynn Barrett, vice president of human resources for Northern Westchester Hospital, developed the original course with the help of a grant from the Aetna Foundation.

Flynn Barrett said one of the reasons the program is a success is “because all of our organizations have a commitment to cultural competence and a shared vision to support a safe and healthy community.”             “It has been a pleasure working with Neighbors Link,” Padilla said. “They are an important part of our community and they offer a vitally important service where people can go for help and information.”

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