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Social Interaction Training to Reduce Police Use of Force

NCJ Number
The ANNALS of the American Academy of Political and Social Science Volume: 687 Issue: 1 Dated: 2020 Pages: 124-145
Date Published
22 pages

This article describes the implementation of a randomized trial that brought training in social interaction skills to two U.S. police agencies and yielded encouraging results.


The evaluation concluded that the conceptual framework was generally well received but that results depended heavily on the selection and performance of each agency’s own trainers. The training views police-citizen encounters as social interactions that can either escalate toward, or de-escalate away from, the use of force. That assumption enabled the implementation of skills training that police can use to improve the outcome of such interactions, and to account for variation in citizens’ responses to police actions and communications. This study examined an effort to apply the concept that social-interaction training should be the focus of efforts to reduce the likelihood of officer-involved shootings and other uses of force. (publisher abstract modified)

Date Published: January 1, 2020