DHS S&T Partners With Law Enforcement Community to Study Police-Citizen Interactions

2 mins read

The Science and Technology Directorate of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS S&T) has partnered with Federal Law Enforcement Training Centers (FLETC) and Dallas Police Department to study how interactions between officers and citizens affect conflict management.

DHS said Tuesday its study aims to develop conflict resolution strategies that prevent personal interactions from escalating into damaging events. Researchers will classify behaviors and identify engagement patterns based on video footage of police encounters.

S&T and FLETC will build on previous assessments conducted in April 2017 for the centers' conflict management training course. FLETC’s Behavioral Science Division and Innovation Operations Branch worked together to develop a conflict management and de-escalation strategy.

FLETC is also working with the DHS Center of Excellence at the Center for Accelerating Operational Efficiency within the Arizona State University to explore the potential of developing conflict management models based on police behaviors. They plan to publish the results of video coding and analysis by the middle of summer, with the help of ASU’s School of Criminology and Criminal Justice.

Now, the S&T-FLETC team will evaluate the feasibility of an automated coding system designed to help law enforcement officers and researchers study personal officer-citizen interactions. Jim Grove, FLETC portfolio manager at S&T, said they hope to convert manual coding into an algorithm for automation.

“We want to learn what helps to keep a situation from escalating or what helps to de-escalate a situation,” said Laura Zimmerman, a senior researcher at FLETC.

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