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Police Officers Train Using Lessons Of the Holocaust - Shed Prejudices

People gathered at the Holocaust Museum and Tolerance Center in Glen Cove to hear about “Law Enforcement and Society: Lessons of the Holocaust,” a program meant to train officers about respecting people and shedding prejudices.

This program is required for all Nassau and Suffolk police cadets in order for them to graduate. Over 50,000 police officers throughout the country have taken the course since it started 11 years ago.

Nassau County Police Officer Shevach Berkovits stated that this program helps bring an awareness about respecting people’s dignity, he also said, “one day spent there wasn’t enough, my fellow recruits and I had more and more questions.”

The program is meant, “to deliver a moral message” to recruits, said the chairman at the center, Howard S. Maier. “The goal is to examine the history of the Holocaust while encouraging law professionals to consider this new found knowledge by completing their daily challenging work.”

The workshop was created by the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum and the ADL (Anti Defamation League of New York) in 1999. It is one of three in the country outside of Washington D.C. The program is designed to deliver a moral message to the police officers.

The four-hour program on tolerance and the lessons of the Holocaust includes the cadets watching a 14-minute DVD that gives a history of the Holocaust through the perspective of Long Island Survivors as well as showing historical footage.

A guided tour of the exhibit and of specific photos of the tragedies is also included in the tour. The Holocaust educators speak with participants on the abuse of power under the Nazis and the role of the police within the Nazi state.

Lastly led by the ADL, the participants go through an interactive examination of the important and difficult role the police face in American society today. Officers are encouraged to reflect on their personal and professional responsibilities in a democracy.

Officer Berkovits said, “It was a great experience!”

The Holocaust Museum gets visits from tens of thousands of children and adults each year. It is the largest Holocaust reference library on Long Island. The museum is lucky enough to have over 45 Holocaust survivors to share their personal experiences through the many programs offered on site. They show the importance of tolerance and respect and reinforce the fact that every individual can make a difference.