Law enforcement officers and juvenile probation officers from Howard County will be gathering together to improve interactions with youth through the Policing the Teen Brain training October 13-16, 2015 at the Family Services Association offices in Kokomo.

“We look to this unique training as a step toward enhancing our work with youth, and as part of the juvenile detention alternatives initiative,” said Rob Pruett Juvenile Detention Alternatives Initiative Coordinator in Howard County. “Through it, we hope to offer officers new skills in interacting with youth and strengthen law enforcement agencies’ relationships with youth-serving community organizations.” 

"A basic premise of the Juvenile Detention Alternatives Initiative is that children who are detained are more likely to be removed from the community long-term.” said Pruett. “This not only disrupts connections to schools, services, and family, it also has lasting impacts on both educational and employment levels. Indiana is committed to statewide implementation of JDAI. Policing the Teen Brain training provided by Strategies For Youth is a key part of realizing this goal."

Developed by Strategies for Youth, the Policing the Teen Brain training improves interactions between law enforcement and youth, gives officers a better understanding of the development of the teen brain and thought process and provides tactics for de-escalating interactions and avoiding use of force.  An important goal of the training is to help officers be aware of and address disproportionate minority contact.

“Indiana is a standout nationally for its commitment to equipping officers with skills and best practices for working effectively with youth,” said David Walker, Training Director for Strategies for Youth. 

Law enforcement officers selected from Johnson County will participate in an intensive four-day course in which they will learn from Dr. Jeff Burnett, how teens perceive, process and respond to stimulus using different parts of their brains than adults. Dr. Burnett’s insights equip officers with the necessary skills to work effectively with youth.  At the conclusion of the training, participating officers will train their peers. 

Strategies for Youth is a national nonprofit training and policy organization dedicated to improving police/youth interactions and reducing disproportionate minority contact.  Strategies for Youth has worked law enforcement agencies across the country, including the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department as well as officers from Delaware, Wayne, Porter, Madison, Monroe, Johnson, Henry and Tippecanoe Counties’ law enforcement agencies.