Law enforcement, corrections, or probation officers serves a crucial role in the safety and well-being of the communities. Often named as gatekeepers to the criminal justice systems, they are usually the first ones on any crime scene and wear many hats for juvenile delinquency. However, law execution training programs infrequently reports how youth developing variations alter police experiences with aggressive or hypothetically aggressive youths. This negligence is astonishing because a big number of officer’s threats of or usage of coercive contacts are with teenagers (de la Fontaine et al., 2021).
Moreover, law enforcement, correction, or probation officers have been ranked with high rates of occupational-related injuries. Rendering to the Law Enforcement Officers Killed and Assaulted (LEOKA) datasets from FBI in 2016-2020, there were approximately 389 incidents where these officers were assaulted with firearms or knives in their line of duty with offenders. Out of these 389 incidents, about 5.5% were done by youths under 18 years old, while one-quarter were committed by older youths aged 18-25. For this reason, numerous law enforcement agencies have implemented programs or training such as Trauma Training or De-Escalating Juvenile Aggression program to their officers where a strong rehabilitative plan is enforced, ensuring that both police and youth safety is enhanced during arrests.
To enumerate, De-Escalating Juvenile Aggression is a training program available to law enforcement, correctional or probation officers that assists improve their safety while interacting with the youths. De-escalating Juvenile Aggression is defined as those actions undertaken by law enforcement officers to avoid physical confrontations with youths that have aggression behaviors to enhance both the safety of the youth and that of the worker when making arrests. Precisely, this training program operates as a one-day training discipline that was intended to educate law enforcement officers about the developing aspects that are most likely to contribute to youth’s aggressive conducts, correct methods of handling their aggressive acts, and verbal abilities required to de-escalate such hostile youths (Visser et al., 2021). Most police precincts, such as Nebraska Police Department, requires every new correction officer to attend 545 hours of trainings’ at the Nebraska Law Enforcement Training Center in Grand Islands. The De-Escalating training program does not encompass trainings’ on comprehending and managing hostile youth experiences but instead, a twenty-hour training sections on ‘special populace’ comprising four hours on youthful justice procedures. In addition, not any of the current ongoing educational trainings’ concentrates on youthful delinquents. Therefore, neither newer nor existing officers are exposed to the developing aspects that theoretically impact youthful aggressions or any verbal approaches that are significant in de-escalating juvenile aggressions before physical restraints in necessary.
Consequently, the National Judicial Group implemented the De-Escalating Youthful Aggression Training Programs to address the gaps in addressing the law enforcement training associated with comprehending and handling juvenile behaviors and aggressions to improve police safety. Also, this training program aims to evaluate and gauge the plan’s capability to elevate law enforcement officers’ acknowledgement and approval of developmental concerns linked to youthful conduct and widen their viewpoints on how aggressive or potential hostile juveniles should be properly controlled. This program is developed as an 8-hour, one-day training program administered to different officers in three days (de la Fontaine et al., 2021). In this training, the law enforcement officers are taught and offered role-playing trainings to highlight the developing variations between teenagers and grownups and the significance of vocal skills to de-escalate hypothetically hostile youths to avoid harming them or the criminal youths. After the 3-day course, the trainers are obligated to explain the legal variations between the child and adults, the developing progressions that impact juvenile feelings, the mental basis for young aggressive behaviors, and the societal aspects that affect youthful aggressions.
Nevertheless, the capability of avoiding or de-escalating unstable police-youth associations has numerous benefits for both officers and youths. Possibly most significantly, preventing the usage of force by officers diminishes the possibilities of both of them being physically injured hence enhancing the safety of the officer and the youth. Likewise, it decreases the probability that negative associations will deleteriously disturb their assertiveness and conduct towards each other in the coming years. Not only does de-escalating aggressive juveniles benefit officers, but also the teenagers as well. Favorable circumstances between the officer and the youths provide a great opportunity to collect data that may assist decline the chances of any arrest, drop the charges offered to the teen, and diminish the cases of pre-adjudication detentions. Decision-making regarding these circumstances is fundamental because a detention can cause official processing’s’ and the accumulations of criminal records, charging choices can cause more severe sentences, and pre-adjudication detentions can pre-dispose juveniles to more serious dispositions following adjudications.
On the other hand, when it comes to law enforcement, de-escalating this aggressive behavior for juveniles helps to contribute to the objectives of community-based monitoring positively. Adverse associations can generate or steer poor associations with the communities, which deteriorates the establishment of confidence, accountability and collaboration between law enforcement precincts and the communities and makes the police officer’s work harder. However, maintaining the officer’s affiliation with the public will be difficult if police officers are not prepared to handle youths efficaciously and in a way that is regarded as fair and impartial by youths and the wider community. Additionally, the associations between law enforcement, correctional, or probation officers and the juveniles, whether teen or police-initiated, takes place frequently and in numerous diverse locations, such as the streets, in supermarkets, in institutions, and any other private or private areas (Slaatto et al., 2021). Concerns with youths, police, or community safeties are always present during these associations despite the existing research highlighting that there is still a lot unknown from the nature of these interactions. Despite high rates of work-associated injuries for law-enforcement officers, it is obvious that teens who are aged 18 years and below commits a small number of crimes on law enforcement officers every 12 months. Though juvenile arrests have been decreasing for a long period of time, there are still around 1, 000, 000 apprehensions of youths below the age of 18 as of 2018. These facts underscore the difficult natures of the police-youth contacts and the need for comprehending and enhancing this association to maintain the safety of law enforcement officers.
Furthermore, research indicates that the natures of police-youth meets highlights the requisite to enhance the interactions between police and youths through De-Escalating Juvenile Aggression programs (Mehari et al., 2021). Conferring to the Police Use of Force Studies, 40% of police-instigated contacts and 49% of communications that involved the threat of or usage of force associated juveniles was between the ages of 13-20. Yet, youths were ranked 4th in general police contacts, 4th in the percentages of contacts without force usage, and 3rd in contacts that led to handcuffing. In addition, based on studies from high school students, it was found that regardless of past experiences with police, most of the learners believed that there were serious issues between the officers and youths. What’s more, the learners responded that these issues were aggravated by the officer’s viewpoints of and attitude towards the youths. Researches on adolescent psychologies assisted in explaining the unique natures of officer-youth associations. Youth psychologies concentrate on the cognitive and psycho-societal aspects that differentiate teen’s from adults, and the numerous studies points that adolescent conducts and decision-making should be interpreted differently.
Youth developmental characteristics like aggressive behaviors, impulsiveness, and resistance to authority elevate the chances that police-juvenile encounters will comprise conflicts, disrespect, and confronting conduct. These acts, as a result, hypothetically escalate the meetings, alter an officer’s version of the circumstances, and eventually develop a course of action. Therefore, it is crucial for police officers to recognize developmental variations, and the capability to handle youths without force would arguably protect officers in these tough situations (Viljoen et al., 2018). The De-Escalating Juvenile Training Program encourages law enforcement officers to address the causes of delinquencies via establishing prevention programs for officers, using the least forceful alternatives when handling youths, and developing a clear procedural guideline for choice making. However, many researchers indicate that developmental differences are absent from law enforcement working processes and training programs.
To conclude, the main aim for this study was to find out if the De-Escalating Juvenile Aggression Training Program had the ability to elevate police awareness of youth developmental aspects, change their attitudes towards handling aggressive youths, make use of verbal skills to de-escalate their aggressions, and potential aggressive youths to improve their safeties in their line of work. This study showed both short and long-termed impact changes for officer attitudes. Also, the research used for this essay pointed out that almost any trained police associated with aggressive teens who used verbal techniques to de-escalate aggressions found the method effective. Collectively, these outcomes support that offering training programs for police officers to De-Escalate Aggression is a great avenue for enhancing the overall safety of the police officers precisely when they are interacting with aggressive or probably aggressive youths involved in any crime.
de la Fontaine, N., Hahn, H., Stover, C. S., & Marans, S. (2021). Extending Law Enforcement Reach to Children Exposed to Violence: Police Training Evaluation. Journal of Police and Criminal Psychology, 1-12.
Mehari, K. R., Rodgers, C. R., Blanton, M. A., & Turner, L. A. (2021). Evaluation of police training on de-escalation with trauma-exposed youth. International journal of law, crime, and justice, 66, 100491.
Slaatto, A. J., Mellblom, A., Kleppe, L. C., Baugerud, G. A., & Kjøbli, J. (2021). Conflict prevention, de-escalation and restraint in children/youth inpatient and residential facilities: A systematic mapping review.
Viljoen, J. L., Cochrane, D. M., & Jonnson, M. R. (2018). Do risk assessment tools help manage and reduce the risk of violence and reoffending? a systematic review. Law and Human Behavior, 42(3), 181.
Visser, K. M., Jansen, L. M. C., Popma, A., Vermeiren, R. R. J. M., & Kasius, M. C. (2021, April). Addressing Aggression in the Residential Setting for Juveniles with Mild Intellectual Disability through Training in Non-Violent Resistance. In Child & Youth Care Forum (Vol. 50, No. 2, pp. 333-349). Springer US.