Research in Brief: Teaching Procedural Justice and Communication Skills during Community-Police Encounters

Patrol officers are expected to fulfill a wide range of functions, including preventing crime, helping victims and others in danger, resolving conflicts between parties, managing the movement of people and vehicles, creating a feeling of safety in the community, and a host of other services. At the heart of these efforts is interactions with community members, ideally in a manner that is both effective and fair, which can be a challenge. Research indicates that factors such as the officer’s perceived demeanor, fairness and impartiality, concern, helpfulness, conflict-resolution strategies, and professional competence all play a role in determining a person’s level of satisfaction with police encounters. To improve these skills with officers, the authors worked with the Chicago, Illinois, Police Department to develop, implement, and evaluate a new training program called the Quality Interaction Program (QIP) for police recruits. The QIP focused on procedural justice, interpersonal communication, decision-making, cultural awareness, and stress management during encounters with the public.