Oh, it’s definitely more of a conscious thing. I’d like to say that most cops (and most people in general) aren’t racist in the overt sense; however, perhaps some still possess certain biases at a subconscious level, and these biases come into play (usually during extreme situations) without a person even realizing they’re there.
I guess the reason I see it more as an institutional thing is because these individual biases tend morph to the point where they become department culture. This culture includes everything from how cops are hired and trained (as you said), to how crimes are investigated, what’s deemed appropriate force, etc.
Do you believe that if the statistics reversed, where white people started committing the highest percent of violent crimes, that cops (or people in general), would not at a subconscious level feel differently and act accordingly? Let’s say, for example, that white Canadians started becoming rampant terrorists, and that there’s a few white Canadians who proudly fly their Canadian flag in my neighborhood. Is it unreasonable for me at a subconscious level to not feel my Spidey-Sense tingling? And do you think that just because they’re white, I’d have feelings no different than how I view other whites? Have you ever seen the movie Canadian Bacon?