Law Enforcement and Society: Lessons of the Holocaust program (LEAS)
The Holocaust Center for Humanity, in partnership with the Anti-Defamation League and the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, provides the Law Enforcement and Society: Lessons of the Holocaust (LEAS) program to police agencies in Washington State.
The Law Enforcement and Society (LEAS) program was created in 1999 by the ADL and the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. It has been adopted by 8 major cities in the U.S. and required for all FBI agents. This program is designed to connect police officers to their core values, to protect the public. It teaches them about what can happen and what did happen in a society where police treated people differently because of their race, religion, ethnicity, or beliefs.
The Holocaust Center for Humanity began the program in 2018 training all 1,300 Seattle police officers. We are now training all recruits. In the beginning the program was a 4-hour in-person training in our museum. In 2020 we developed a 2-hour virtual program which makes the lessons more accessible across our state. Departments can choose virtual or in-person training.
As recent events have proven, justice ends in the courtroom but starts on our streets. What better place to start than to teach empathy to the individuals who are charged to implement the very laws that are meant to protect us all, equally.
Each LEAS program includes:
- A tour of the Holocaust Center's core exhibition with specially trained docents or a virtual tour of the core exhibition
- A discussion of the role of police in Nazi Germany and the occupied territories
- A discussion of the professional and personal responsibilities of law enforcement professionals in American society today
Quotes from LEAS participants:
"Very impactful presentation and discussion."
"The images were great and there was no shaming of the police."
"The quality of the presentation and the professionalism and passion of the instructors. The class was outstanding, made me realize that I do not know enough about that period of our history and I would really like to go to the museum. The way you used the pictures in the breakout rooms and then brought us back together and gave the context and then compared law enforcement then and now - very well done!"
"Helped me and other officers reflect on why we got into the profession as a driving force to continue doing good work and reflect on our moral compass."
"In a time where I have repeatedly reconsidered my profession, this course was a great reminder of how I can contribute to reform and change. It is hard to see how our profession was used in the past, and why police were even established, but all I can hope for is that we never go back and always look forward."