Two weeks ago, I wrote about Blueleaks, a massive collection of lawe enforcement documents that were released by DDoSecrets.
Well, we now have the first big reveal of this cache of documents, and it’s significant.
If anyone suggests to you that there are only a few “bad apples”, you need to remind them that the trainers,Derek Chauvin comes to mind, are among the most bigoted and most dismissive of civil rights and basic human decency:
In early September 2017, the Midwest Counterdrug Training Center (MCTC) hosted a course on “narcoterrorism.” By most accounts, it was a helpful few days of lessons on the drug trade and criminal organizations, led by an instructor with years of law enforcement experience.
In surveys, some later praised it as a “wake-up call,” a course with “virtually no room for improvement.”
And then, there was this: “I don’t know where to start – as someone who has worked full-time counter-terrorism for the past six years, this course was a complete disappointment. The instruction was long on rants and short on any actual substance. Any substantive material was outdated (some of it more than 20 years old). Much of the material taught is publicly available ‘conspiracy’ theory that has been disproved through investigation.”
The respondent continued, “While the instructor was open about his ‘anti-PC’ beliefs – this is the only time I have ever heard the [N-word] repeatedly used by instructors and students.”
The written review ended with a warning to the MCTC leadership.
“This is a time bomb – if anyone were to record [the teacher’s] rants and leak them to the media your whole program would go down in flames.”
While the “teacher’s rants” were not leaked, this response was, as part of the BlueLeaks hack in June. It’s one of the thousands of surveys filled out following MCTC law enforcement training offered throughout the past decade.
Funded by the Department of Defense and administered by the Iowa National Guard Counterdrug Task Force, the Center has trained “over 190,000 local, tribal, state, and federal law enforcement officers, military members, and prevention and treatment professionals,” according to its website.
While thousands responded favorably these courses over the past 10 years, the negative reviews call into question the culture of the organization, in which instructors saying racial slurs or homophobic jokes would still be rated highly by the majority of survey participants.
Some, including the instructor described above, continued to teach for years, despite being flagged repeatedly. According to additional surveys, the above teacher was still leading MCTC courses as recently as March 2020.
“Asking students if they ‘were the pitcher or catcher’ may be funny to some but is asking for a lawsuit in front of the wrong audience. Asking if they were going to ‘spit or swallow’ was a similar inappropriate question, as well as referring to the black male in the class as ‘brotha’ multiple times when it was obvious he was uncomfortable with it. Joking about sex assault cases is probably not the best idea considering someone may know a victim.”
“If a camera was placed in the room he would be on national news for his statements and views. This course was labeled for ‘drugs’ and just about every example referred to sex,” cautioned another reviewer.
Still, surveys from 2019 show that instructor was still brought back for additional courses.
The spread of biased, outdated, or debunked information was another leading concern. The majority of these complaints were leveled at the same instructors identified above for offensive language.
“Many media sources were slightly outdated and notoriously biased,” wrote one commenter in 2015. “Some of the sources used were blatant political rhetoric.”
Multiple responders—even those who otherwise ranked the courses favorably—noted a lack of sources outside of Fox News and a lack of examples or trends less than three decades old.
Others criticized the actual course material and practical law enforcement learnings offered. A 2013 student mentioned their instructor, “suggested [criminal] subjects not be given a break to get a drink and use the restroom after several hours, which may be considered a civil rights violation.”
Numerous comments in this vein referred back to the “reputation of MCTC,” and fears that instructors like these would “degrade” its status or that of other law enforcement departments.
“I found myself embarrassed to admit being part of the National Guard during this class due to instructor’s association with a National Guard affiliated course,” read one 2018 response.
“He flat out said in class that he lied all the time in court to cover his partner’s asses. He said multiple times a badge and being a cop means ‘you can do whatever the f%$# you want.’”
Why this is not a lede for every law enforcement section of every paper in the United States is beyond me.