Police Department Policy Assessment and Development

SFY understands that training is necessary but not sufficient.

Policy Review

While training is critical, ensuring law enforcement agencies adopt policies that direct officers to use best practices for interactions with youth, is necessary for effecting real change in police/youth interactions.

That’s why, as part of our work with law enforcement agencies, SFY conducts in-depth review of the policies that guide officers’ interactions with youth. These reviews offer three concrete pieces of information to law enforcement agencies:

  1. Overview of current topics in police/youth interactions
  2. Comprehensive model youth policies (customized by state)
  3. Review of agency’s current agency policies

Basis for Recommendations

When we review an agency’s policies and practices we rely on the following sources to recommend changes:

  • Best practices according to principles of positive Youth Development
  • National law enforcement standard-setting agencies policies, including the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP), the Commission on Accreditation of Law Enforcement Agencies (CALEA), state Police Officer Standards and Training (POSTs)
  • State law and decisions
  • Scholarship on police/youth interactions
  • Key topics in SFY reviews of agency policies

Types Of Policies We Review

When reviewing policies guiding law enforcement officers’ interactions with youth, SFY’s review integrates best practices and case law. Some of the topics include:

  • Timing & Method of Provision of Miranda warning for youth
  • Language of Juvenile Miranda warnings
  • Interview and Interrogation Policies for Youth
  • Use of Force with Youth
  • Bias-Free Policing
  • Youth Crisis Intervention/Mental Health Interventions
  • Policies for Treatment of Trafficked youth
  • Policies for Mitigating Trauma of Youth who Observe Parental Arrest

Why Engaging in Policy Reform Is Important

Report: If Not Now, When?

SFY’s report, IF NOT NOW, WHEN? A Survey of Juvenile Justice Training in American Police Academies (2013) demonstrated that:

 

 

  • Only 1% of basic training in police academies is spent on juvenile justice issues.
  • Only 8 states provide information on the federally required obligation to reduce disproportionate minority contact (DMC) in their juvenile justice curriculum.
  • Only 2 states—Connecticut and Illinois—report providing new officers any training on adolescent development and psychology.
  • Only 9 states provide new officers any training on adolescent mental health issues.

For More information

For more information or to engage Strategies for Youth in a policy review process, contact:
Lisa Thurau, Executive Director, at lht@strategiesforyouth.org

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