Law Enforcement Social Interaction Training: A Review of the Research

Samantha A. Moul, University of New Haven

 

Since the turn of the century, the policing profession has seen a shift towards evidence-based practices, in an attempt to integrate empirically validated research into policies, programs, and training (Mays & Ruddell, 2019). In addition, recent high-profile incidents of officer use of force and the officer-involved deaths of several unarmed individuals, particularly Black men, has renewed public and political interest in understanding how law enforcement officers are trained to interact with the communities they serve (Siegel, 2020; President’s Task Force on 21st Century Policing, 2015). To begin to understand the breadth of law enforcement training, the Bureau of Justice Statistics has routinely gathered data on state and local agency trainings across the country (Reaves, 2012; 2016). The quantity and quality of training that officers receive differs widely from agency to agency, both at the recruit and in-service/veteran levels. In fact, the Bureau of Justice Statistics found that state and local academies can vary anywhere from 650 to over 1,000 hours of training (Reaves, 2016). Additionally, the content of that training, in terms of the hours dedicated to various topics and the overall orientation of the academy as a stress-based or non-stress based curriculum, can also vary significantly (Reaves, 2016). While these trainings typically focus disproportionately on physical skills and firearms training, many academics have advocated for a more “soft skills” emphasis that helps improve officer communication skills, empathy, and public health awareness (Antrobus et al., 2019; Csete, 2019).

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Dissecting Community Policing: The Contemporary American Perspective

Patryk F. Jaroszkiewicz, University of New Haven

 

Although the development of American policing is deeply rooted in the first modern police force in England, created by Sir Robert Peel in 1829, the United States initially did not adhere to the innovative Peelian virtues. In particular, the notion that “the police are the public, and the public are the police,” which stressed the importance of continuous partnership between the community and law enforcement, did not fit the controversial reality during the early creation stages of modern police organizations in America (Williams, 2003). Given that all citizens are a vital part of the community-oriented policing (COP) model, it was not until late 1980s when the paradigm of police work shifted towards the police-citizen partnership approach. Williams and Murphy (1990) noted that minority communities across the nation, previously omitted by the benefits of policing, played a critical role in triggering the era of community policing (p. 2). However, not only does the existing community-oriented approach emphasize the crucial aspect of collective efficacy within the public safety arena, but it also stresses the need for progressive transformation of law enforcement agencies and the implementation of problem-solving strategies (COPS, 2016).

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Racialized Bodies within Policing and Surveillance

Amber Amin, University of New Haven

 

The death of Freddie Gray in 2015 kick-started a movement of modern day civil rights that continues to this day. Gray was a 25 year old African American, who was arrested by the Baltimore Police Department for possessing a knife. After sustaining injuries while being transported in a police van, he died seven days later due to a spinal cord injury. None of the officers involved were prosecuted. Following Gray’s death, the city of Baltimore experienced organized protests for weeks. Protesters were angered by the abuse Gray endured at the hands of law enforcement officials, followed by the lack of prosecution of those involved. In a post-Freddie Gray world, Baltimore is still trying to remedy the negative effects of racist policies and decisions (Pappoe, 2016).

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The Impact of Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Guidelines on Diabetes through the Use of Mobile Devices

Mary Ann R. Garcia, DNP, MSN, RN, Chamberlain University 

Diabetes is a major public health problem worldwide. It is characterized by an increase in blood sugar levels and may manifest as either Type-1 or Type-2 diabetes mellitus (American Diabetes Association [ADA], 2018). Diabetes poses a significant economic burden due to its high diagnostic and treatment costs. In the year 2017, $327 billion were utilized in the diagnosis of diabetes (ADA, 2018). Additionally, more than 2.4 million residents of the state of Florida are diabetics, with more than 5.8 million people being confirmed to be in the early stages of diabetes development (Tabák, Herder, Rathmann, Brunner, & Kivimäki, 2012). These figures are more than double that of diabetes prevalence of the past two decades (Dabelea et al., 2014).

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Racial and Ethnic Disparities across the Juvenile Justice System

Kelly Orts, University of New Haven

Existence of racial and ethnic disparities in the criminal justice system has been a long-standing, well-researched occurrence. This is true in the juvenile justice system as well. In fact, racial and ethnic disparities exist in every processing stage in juvenile justice, and they worsen as a child continues deeper into the system (Majumdar, 2017). Nationally, the African American youth population is only 16% of the entire youth population (Bureau of Justice Statistics, 2012). However, African American youth comprise 32% of all juvenile arrests, 36% of juvenile court cases, and 40% of incarcerated youth (Anderson, 2015). Black youth are also five times more likely to be arrested for person-related crimes, two times more likely to be arrested for property or drug crimes, and nine times more likely to receive an adult prison sentence, in comparison to similar White youth (Jones, 2016).

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Potential Aftercare and Vacatur Laws for Survivors of Sex Trafficking

Sarbjeet Kaur, University of New Haven

Victims of sex trafficking often find themselves stuck in a frightful time warp from their past, even after they are rescued. The main reasons for their inability to move forward are a criminal record and inadequate mental health support, particularly in cases of prostitution. Several studies have identified the need for mental health and aftercare for the victims of sex trafficking. Many of these victims experience symptoms, including post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), previously identified as a contributor to criminogenic behavior. This paper reviews these issues and recommends using Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT) as a form of aftercare for the victims of sex trafficking, in addition to the full vacatur of criminal record in all states, for enabling a stable lifestyle and reducing the risk of criminality or re-victimization. These recommendations are intended for government task forces and criminal justice stakeholders working against sex trafficking, as these individuals hold power to enact legislation and reduce the burden placed on the victims.

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The Importance of Comprehensive K-12 Sexual Education Programs

Tatiana M. Smith, University of New Haven

The purpose of this paper is to discuss the current status of existing evidence-based health education programs designed for K-12 students. The content of well-informed K-12 health education programs is intended to clarify definitions and reduce future at-risk and criminal behaviors. This may include evidence-based curriculums encompassing such topics as mental health, sexual education, learning difficulties, sexuality, bullying, suicide, substance abuse, biological puberty, and more. However, the focus here will be on sexual education curriculums for K-12 health education programs. The goal is to evaluate whether existing health programs properly educate K-12 students about recognizing and practicing positive interactions within sexual situations. The intended audience includes legislators and school administrators who effect policy changes in K-12 academic public-school curricula (specifically sex education), with the expectation of enhancing course content to be more comprehensive and to decrease the likelihood of at-risk and criminal behavior in the future, both in the U.S. and perhaps globally (Leung, Shek, Leung, & Shek, 2019).

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Traveling at 1000 Feet per Second with Unalterable Consequences: How to Decrease Police Officer-Involved Shootings

Penny Geyer, University of New Haven

In 2019, there were 1,004 individuals killed in police officer-involved shootings throughout the United States (Fatal Force, 2020). Aside from the person losing his/her life, the ripple effect that occurs from just one deadly force encounter is infinite. Consequences are experienced by the police officer who must live with the decision to take another human being’s life, to the families of those involved, and to the community at large. The purpose of this report is to present law enforcement agencies in the United States with several clear, concise, and evidenced-based approaches, which if implemented systematically can assist in the reduction of police officer-involved shootings.

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Actual Relief: A Call for the Better Implementation of Underutilized Rights Restoration Programs

Michelle A. Malone, University of New Haven

 

The legal restrictions imposed upon the accused and convicted create virtually indestructible barriers that prevent former offenders from successfully reentering society in a law-abiding, meaningful way.  Such restrictions sanction offenders by virtue of their mere contact with the criminal justice system, and then these impediments remain with them throughout their prosecution, ultimate conviction, and eventual reentry endeavors.  Consequently, these individuals are scarred permanently with the stigma of criminality, which greatly impedes opportunities for post-conviction success.  Although rights restoration programs have been promulgated federally and by states to mitigate these legal restrictions, inconsistencies in policy interpretation and implementation and their general underutilization renders policies highly ineffective at assisting and protecting former offenders.  This paper explores the collateral consequences of the legal restrictions that follow contact with the criminal justice system and recommends how best to improve and encourage participation in rights restoration programs. 

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The Effectiveness and Future of Polygraph Testing

Michele Vittorio, University of New Haven

 

The use of polygraphs in detecting deception is controversial, and there is no consensus in the scientific community about the effectiveness of this technology in identifying deceptive individuals during criminal investigations and employment screenings. The purpose of this paper is to present and evaluate different studies that analyzed the benefits and the shortcomings of the current applications of polygraphs in the United States, and to produce a recommendation based on their conclusions. According to the evidence and research reviewed, it appears appropriate to exclude currently available polygraph testing procedures from pre-employment screening and background investigations in both private and government organizations, and to confirm the non-admissibility of polygraph examinations in criminal courts. Furthermore, it is recommended to develop further research in this field, to improve the consistency, reliability, and testability of the different types and applications of polygraphs in different settings and situations.

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