Rising to the Challenge of Policing Today’s Youth

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New Policy Briefs from the Police Foundation Explore Opportunities for Positive Police-Youth Interaction

Youth Policy Brief

The goal of the policy briefs is to increase law enforcement knowledge and understanding of youth development without sacrificing public safety.

The Police Foundation, a Washington, DC-based non-profit organization, released the first of a series of youth-focused policy briefs online today. The briefs were first presented at the Annual Training Symposium of the California Police Chiefs Association in Ontario, California.

In the past two years, there has been an intense national conversation about police focused on trust and legitimacy. This dialogue has included scrutiny of how police interact with young people. Line level personnel from both police and sheriff’s agencies more often than not, respond to sensitive situations, such as domestic family disputes, and in some jurisdictions are called on by the school to respond to incidents on campus. It is important to provide the law enforcement community with resources that can help to improve public safety and steer young people toward the appropriate support services they might need. The four policy brief series is designed for California law enforcement executives but is applicable on a national scale.

“We need to provide strategies to deter youth from entering the juvenile and criminal justice systems and to enhance trust and cooperation between police, youth, and their families,” said Jim Bueermann. “The goal of the policy briefs is to increase law enforcement knowledge and understanding of youth development without sacrificing public safety.”

The first brief is an introduction that challenges law enforcement executives to develop a vision for positive police-youth interactions, develop policies that recognize the developmental stages of youth, provide youth-specific training for police officers, develop or sustain community partnerships, and identify means to eliminate racial bias in policing youth. Topics of the remaining policy briefs include:

  •     Teen Brain: Preparing Your Officers to Engage with Youth
  •     Defining the Role of School-Based Police Officers
  •     The Career Pipeline Concept

The Police Foundation produced the policy briefs in collaboration with the California Police Chiefs Association and the California State Sheriffs’ Association and with funding from the California Endowment.

The Police Foundation is a non-partisan, non-profit organization that for nearly 45 years has been at the cutting-edge of research into the most effective and efficient policing practices, as well as providing the understanding of that research to departments and agencies across the nation.


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Michelle Boykins
since: 02/2014
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