Diversity training for Martha’s Vineyard police is on deck for later this fall, as a joint project with Island police chiefs and the Martha’s Vineyard Diversity Coalition gets under way, aided by a $17,000 grant from Permanent Endowment of Martha’s Vineyard.

Eugene Langston-Jemison spoke about his own incarceration Saturday. — Ray Ewing

The project aims to identify and address unconscious bias, and improve interactions between law enforcement and the community, organizers said.

It comes at the end of a summer when the sweeping national Black Lives Matter movement has reverberated on the Vineyard, with peaceful protests and vigils in various venues around the Island that began in June and have continued into September.

The most recent demonstration took place on Saturday evening in front of the Edgartown courthouse, when people gathered for a peaceful vigil to protest racial injustice in the prison system.

Formed two years ago by six founding members with a mission to end racism on the Vineyard through cultural change and community inclusion, the Island diversity coalition has since grown to more than 140 members, including physicians, nurses, researchers, professors, tradesmen, clergy, town leaders, retirees, school administrators, students and police chiefs.

After the death of George Floyd at the hands of a Minneapolis police officer in May, all six Island police chiefs responded immediately with a statement, deploring the events that led to Mr. Floyd’s death and announcing the immediate pursuit of bias training for officers.

Edgartown police chief Bruce McNamee, who has been a leading spokesman for Island chiefs on the issue, praised the effort now under way between the diversity coalition and police departments.

He said police chiefs selected Hillard Heintze, a global company owned by Jensen Hughes that specializes in security risk management and assessment, to provide the training. Attorney Marcia Thompson and her team will lead the training, Chief McNamee said. Ms. Thompson previously served on a civil rights committee for the International Association of Chiefs of Police alongside Oak Bluffs police chief Erik Blake.

After the Island chiefs selected Hillard Heintze for the training, Chief McNamee brought the plan before the diversity coalition to solicit its support. “They heard the instruction, saw the curriculum and they supported our effort,” he said.

Sweeping national Black Lives Matter movement continues to reverberate on the Vineyard with public protests and vigils. — Ray Ewing

In a press release, Walter Collier, a social scientist and founding member of the diversity coalition, praised the choice of Hillard Heintze, which he said is known for its research and followup, among other things.

One of the key concepts of the training will focus on eliminating implicit or unconscious bias in law enforcement, which affects judgments, decisions and behaviors among officers.

And the effort won’t end with the training, according to Sandy Pimentel, another founding member of the diversity coalition. She said Mr. Collier and Maria Cheevers, director of research and development for the Boston police department, are developing an evaluation tool that to measure the effectiveness of the training.

Although the tool is still being developed, Ms. Pimentel said it will likely involve community feedback, and will not “just be getting data from the police. The coalition has been very clear that this is something that we need to vet,” she said.

Chief McNamee echoed the sentiment. “This isn’t a one-and-done effort. This is going to be a collaboration for a long time,” he said.

The coalition was originally seeking about $25,000 to cover the overall cost of the training sessions and accommodations for the instructors. With the grant from the Permanent Endowment and additional private donations, Chief McNamee said the fundraising goal has been met, and the training will be available for some 70 Island police officers and participating community representatives.