Demonstrating the Platform for Policing Research: Innovations in Police Training

Public confidence in the police and police legitimacy in general is influenced greatly by the public's perception of how they are treated during police-citizen encounters. The national platform will test a new evidence-based approach to recruit training that emphasizes personal interactions with the public. The curriculum focuses on basic principles of interpersonal communication derived from procedural justice, social support and communication theories. Factors that influence citizens' judgments of the police such as giving the citizen a voice, treating him or her with dignity and respect, remaining objective, showing concern for the citizen's welfare, and providing informational and emotional support will be emphasized. This field test, to be performed in Chicago, will include a randomized control trial to evaluate effectiveness.

Innovation is also being considered for in-service training. Adjusting to a new job is stressful for most recruits, and working in the field differs considerably from the recruit's experiences in the academy. It is common for field training officers, for example, to tell rookies to "forget everything you learned in the academy."

Policing platform researchers are exploring the idea of developing in-service peer support to make the transition from the academy to the field smoother and produce better recruits faster. Small groups of recruits would meet at the training academy under the guidance of a professional facilitator and be given the opportunity to share their positive and negative experiences pertaining to residents, field training officers, supervisors, departmental policies and whatever else is on their minds. The facilitator would encourage them to share solutions to emerging problems on and off the job and offer resources to help with specific problems.

Date Created: March 16, 2010