Law Enforcement Has a Powerful Role to Play in Advancing JDAI

Posted April 17, 2017
By the Annie E. Casey Foundation
Blog lawenforcementhaspowerful 2017

State law enforce­ment acad­e­mies devote just 1% of their train­ing time — about six hours total — to youth issues, accord­ing to an exec­u­tive sum­ma­ry of the Annie E. Casey Foundation’s forth­com­ing Forg­ing Part­ner­ships With Law Enforce­ment prac­tice guide.

Down­load Forg­ing Part­ner­ships With Law Enforcement

The sum­ma­ry iden­ti­fies a clear need to train law enforce­ment com­man­ders and patrol offi­cers on the devel­op­men­tal dif­fer­ences between youth and adults. This knowl­edge — cou­pled with a com­mit­ment to treat­ing youth in age-appro­pri­ate ways — can make a pow­er­ful and pos­i­tive dif­fer­ence in young people’s lives, accord­ing to the doc­u­ment, which is part of a pub­li­ca­tion series focused on enhanc­ing the work of Juve­nile Deten­tion Alter­na­tives Ini­tia­tive® (JDAI) stakeholders.

The good news? Law enforce­ment lead­ers increas­ing­ly agree that offi­cers need more train­ing in areas like ado­les­cent devel­op­ment, juve­nile jus­tice and con­flict resolution.

Some depart­ments have even set out to make this train­ing a pri­or­i­ty. In Indiana’s Tippeca­noe Coun­ty, for exam­ple, law enforce­ment offi­cials par­tic­i­pate in a pro­gram called Polic­ing the Teen Brain.” The train­ing helps offi­cers under­stand why kids do what they do,” says Kurt Wolf, cap­tain of the Lafayette Police Depart­ment, which oper­ates in Tippeca­noe Coun­ty. It teach­es them about ways to deesca­late and deal with kids who are act­ing out.”

Wolf’s com­ments align with one of the prac­tice guide’s core mes­sages: That JDAI works bet­ter when law enforce­ment agen­cies are active and engaged part­ners. On this front, JDAI stake­hold­ers can do a lot to move law enforce­ment toward more effec­tive and age-appro­pri­ate prac­tices,” says Nate Balis, direc­tor of the Foundation’s Juve­nile Jus­tice Strat­e­gy Group.

Oth­er top­ics cov­ered in the guide and exec­u­tive sum­ma­ry are:

  • How JDAI sites can forge and rein­vig­o­rate law enforce­ment partnerships;
  • How JDAI sites can lever­age these part­ner­ships to improve out­comes relat­ed to youth and pub­lic safety;
  • How law enforce­ment agen­cies view the juve­nile jus­tice sys­tem and their inter­ac­tions with young people;
  • Tips for reach­ing con­sen­sus on an objec­tive deten­tion screen­ing instru­ment and process; and
  • How to pro­mote more effec­tive and equi­table law enforce­ment prac­tices toward youth.

Down­load the exec­u­tive sum­ma­ry from 2017

In 2021, the Casey Foun­da­tion part­nered with Strate­gies for Youth to devel­op a more robust exec­u­tive summary.

Read and Down­load the Strate­gies for Youth Report

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