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Friday, June 9, 2017

Zootopia used in real-world Police Training!

Photo: Fox9 News
Life inspires art, and art inspires life, and in this case it seems to have struck a very real chord right where it ought to.

Recently, the St. Paul Police Department screened Zootopia to all their officers as part of their annual equity training.  The real-world parallels and issues the movie draws concerning stereotypes, prejudice, and the role of the police are obvious, but it's portrayed in a way that allows everyone to learn without ever comparing animals to a real-world racial counterpart.  Due to the way Zootopia masterfully handles such a delicate and often controversial topic, a lot of officers were able to come away from the training with new perspectives on their job.

"What was cool was so many officers have seen the movie so many times, and they never saw the paralells with real life, policing, the internal issues we deal with and the external," 
said Officer Colleen Rooney, in a recent article from Fox9 News.  According to Fox9, the chief of police is looking to share the exercise with other departments and community groups in the St. Paul, Minnesota area.

All in all, this is exactly the sort of thing I love to see happening!  Zootopia is far more than a simple children's movie- it can teach men and women of all ages valuable lessons about the world we live in, and get us to think about how we might handle a situation before it ever comes up.  I, for one, never understood what "microagressions" were until I saw how Judy handled the situation in Jerry Jumbeaux's Ice Cream Parlor (especially immediately afterwards, with the line "I just gotta say, you're a great dad, and just... a real articulate feller!"  Ouch Judy.  Just ouch).

In my opinion, Zootopia is the sort of movie that ought to be required watching before you graduate high school and enter the adult world, and DEFINITELY should be a part of job training for a lot of professions outside of police work.  But that's me.  What do you think of all this?  Should Zootopia be introduced into more widespread police training?  Do you think it would be effective?  Let us know down in the comments!

13 comments:

  1. In farking credible! I LOVE IT!

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  2. Hmm, Changing the world, one PD at a time.

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  3. Well, at least it's not being used to teach police procedure, or else we'd have illegal searches and reckless cops everywhere.

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    1. Police Procedures can (and do) be codified.

      Teaching about bias and inherent prejudice can't. And Zootopia tackles that subtle (but devastating) issue very well.

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    2. Using examples of what not to do are just as legitimate.

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  4. Zootopia should be a required material to be watched and discussed by EVERYONE, especially people who are expected to be impartial.

    LEO are required to be impartial ("all people are of the same standing w.r.t law"), so Zootopia should be a required material.

    That said...

    "What was cool was so many officers have seen the movie so many times..."

    FURRIES!! FURRIES EVERYWHERE!!! xD

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  5. I wonder if the discussions related to this film covered the effects of overzealous policing, such as when Judy decides to double her quota of parking tickets, and what effects this type of behaviour has on the community?

    While the film by itself can open new insight into the topics presented, to be most effective it should be accompanied by a guided discussion, and plenty of opportunity for introspection. Without the ability to realize that each of us embodies some of the negative aspects presented in the film, that no one is immune, that "change starts with you, change starts with me..." the impact of the viewing is diminished.

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    1. One aspect of the parking tickets they failed to show was the fact that there is paperwork required for each and every ticket that has to be filled out back at the station.

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  6. IIRC, one of the local churches used bits of Zootopia for the same reason. And I did like that comment that many officers had seen it many times..:) Zootopia is a wonderful way to show these issues. And yes, it's not perfect and doesn't teach proper police procedures but even that's a lesson on literal-mindedness public perceptions. Anyhow, I think it's great! Stubat

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  7. This is pretty cool, though I'm frankly a bit baffled to think that anyone could watch this movie and somehow manage to NOT see any real-world parallels.

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  8. I learn some new stuff from it too, thanks for sharing your information.

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