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Randomized Controlled Trial of Social Interaction Police Training

NCJ Number
Criminology & Public Policy Dated: July 2020
Date Published
28 pages

This article reports on the methodology and findings of a randomized-controlled trial (RCT) evaluation of a police social interaction training program to determine its effectiveness in improving attitudes and behaviors among police officers.


Using survey data and a series of difference-in-difference tests, the evaluation found that participating in the training program improved participant attitudes, with treatment group officers placing higher priorities on procedurally fair communication during a hypothetical officer-citizen encounter; however, an interrupted time-series analysis of official use-of-force reports provided no evidence that the training program altered officer behavior. Policing scholars and reformers have increasingly called for improvements to police training that emphasize communication and de-escalation skills. Although many programs addressing these issues exist, evidence of their effectiveness has been scarce. The current findings provide evidence that such training may improve police officer attitudes but perhaps not behaviors. (publisher abstract modified)

Date Published: January 1, 2020