Police in Chicago are now required to undergo some unique extra training before they can join the force

**HOLD FOR STORY BY COREY WILLIAMS**This photo shows the DuSable Museum of African American History Thursday, Sept. 22, 2016, in Chicago. The museum will celebrate the dedication of the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of African American History and Culture Saturday, Sept. 24, 2016. (AP Photo/Tae-Gyun Kim)

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Before becoming a police officer in Chicago, recruits must now first take a tour the DuSable Museum of African American History.

As part of a sensitivity initiative, Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Police Supt. Eddie Johnson welcomed 56 recruits to the museum on Monday.

The stop will be added to a lineup of locations, including the Illinois Holocaust Museum in Skokie, the visit to which is also part of mandatory training to understand different cultures and explore the dangers of bigotry, according to DNAinfo.

Mayor Emanuel said he hopes the visits will become a significant part of an effort to enhance training for police recruits.

The changes began with more training on how to deal with mental illness, as well as instruction on the department’s use-of-force policy, with the initiative since spreading to encompass trips to the DuSable Museum.

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“This is also part of that training, and part of that training is being aware that we are a diverse city,” Emanuel told the group of new recruits.

The tour of the museum includes an afternoon spent discussing the role African-Americans have played in building Chicago, along with a viewing of a youth theatre group, whose performance details real stories of incarcerated youths.

Johnson stressed the importance of the DuSable Museum being added to training by saying the recruits would soon be heading out to help people, potentially during one of the most difficult moments of their lives, all while in a cultural context they may not immediately understand or be familiar with.

The training is an effort to help recruits understand these cultural situations with a better competency and greater awareness when they step into an unknown circumstance.

Changes to the hiring process are designed to strengthen constitutional policing and procedural justice practices in the department as part of an effort to make the justice system less biased in Chicago.

“Because violence most often affects those in disadvantaged neighborhoods, due in part to the disparity we desperately need to fix, we also find ourselves interacting more often than not with African-Americans and other people of color,” Johnson said, addressing recruits. “Many of you will start your careers in these areas, and it’s important you understand the history that created the conditions in those neighborhoods.”

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