BOISE, Idaho — The current class of Boise Police cadets took a final step toward becoming full-fledged officers on Wednesday.
It wasn't in a classroom or on a training course though. It happened, like it does every year, at the Idaho Anne Frank Human Rights Memorial.
There, the Boise Police Department aims for its cadets to take in a valuable lesson.
“It really is bringing together the values of our city," said Dan Prinzing, executive director of the Wassmuth Center for Human Rights. "This is who and what the city represents this is who and what the Boise PD protects.”
For cadets, one of the final steps before becoming officers is a lesson in sensitivity and humanity.
“We are the only Anne Frank memorial in the United States, one of the few places in the world with the full universal declaration of human rights on public display, and recognized as an international site of conscious,” Prinzing said.
Over the years, Prinzing and other community leaders have taught cadets about humanity in the context of community.
“Really it is the recognition that we are all in this together and I think that is so often what the cadets come across with that - you are not only here to serve a community but you have a community behind you,” Prinzing said.
The idea for the lesson and tour of the memorial was created by former BPD Chief Bill Bones. The tradition continues now with the new police chief, Ryan Lee.
“To help them understand that there is a wide array of different communities out there inside of our greater community of Boise and it’s our obligation, our solemn oath, to help protect and serve all of those communities,” Lee said.
In the midst of a heightened political climate that includes emotional conversations about the police, Lee explained the importance of this visit for cadets.
“To remember there may be a challenge, there may be a legitimate political grievance, and to remember it is never an us versus them. We are them, and we must work together to build a better future,” he said.
As Prinzing led the cadets on a tour of the memorial and told the stories of human rights and humanity, he hopes they come away with another viewpoint, and a greater appreciation of "the value of human rights, and the value of the service they provide to the community."
Lee values those lessons as well.
“That if we fail to see the value of humanity in each other, if we fail to see us as one greater collective moving towards a brighter and better future, it is far too easy to become divisive and to see others as something different,“ Lee said.
This final step for cadets is not a formality or something they just walk through. The goal is to help them when they do face tough circumstances on the job.
“Choosing to do nothing is siding in agreement with injustice," Prinzing said. "That this is not a time to be silent."
Lee hopes the lessons today will help in the future.
“The future for our children rests in our hands," he said. "What we build here today, matters."
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