HIGHWAY PATROL Cadets study Holocaust to avoid similar actions
The lecture illustrated behavior troopers should never repeat.
COLUMBUS (AP) -- Ohio State Highway Patrol cadets participated in sensitivity training based on a study of police in Nazi Germany, joining a small group of law enforcement agencies that have used the tool.
Last week, 38 cadets sat through a four-hour lecture discussing how the Nazis used police to harass labor leaders, teachers, clergy members, gypsies and the mentally retarded -- and eventually to kill Jews.
Patrol Superintendent Paul D. McClellan decided to include the Holocaust education in the cadets' 30 weeks of overall training because he wants to show his cadets how not to perform when they graduate.
Setting the tone
"It's my job to set the tone for how we deal with our citizens," McClellan said.
McClellan says law enforcement ethics has been a particularly relevant topic because of heightened security and privacy questions since the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.
McClellan said the training didn't use taxpayer money and was funded by a museum grant from Columbus-based Limited Brands.
Staff members of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C. conducted the seminar with the help of the Anti-Defamation League.
Stopping to think
"It makes us ask better questions of ourselves and think about our role as human beings. If one officer stops and thinks, it will be worth it," said Lynn D. Williams, one of the museum's presenters.
The FBI, police in D.C. and Maryland and a handful of other agencies have used "Law Enforcement and Society: Lessons of the Holocaust" in their training.
The cadets, who take an oath of office as law enforcement officers, took note of how German police oaths changed after Hitler's rise to power.
Before, police swore loyalty to uphold the constitution. When Hitler was in power, they swore allegiance to the Third Reich and the Fuhrer.
"This whole thing is always going to be in the back of my mind," Jacquelyn Layson, of Toledo, said afterward.
Trooper Eric Williams, of Zanesville, took in the seminar out of personal interest.
"It reminds me of the old saying, 'Those who forget the lessons of history are destined to repeat them,'" said Williams, who studied the Holocaust in college.