Richmond police officers to be trained on youth encounters

Richmond police officers to be trained on youth encounters

Starting Monday, the Richmond Police Department is holding a four-day training for some of its officers on best practices when interacting with teenagers, police said.

“Policing the Teen Brain,” developed and provided by Strategies for Youth, a national nonprofit, is a psychologist-led training course that aims to equip officers with a better understanding of the development of a teen’s brain and thought process. Officers are then taught de-escalation tactics when encountering youth, including avoiding use of force, police said.

“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 Richmond police Lt. Andre Hill.

Lisa H. Thurau, executive director of Strategies for Youth, said the training will complement the many forward-thinking practices used by RPD, which has become a national example for community policing and de-escalation training.

“When we leave, RPD will have the curriculum, materials, and officers able to provide this training going forward,” Thurau said.

Strategies for Youth is a national nonprofit training and policy organization dedicated to improving police and youth interactions and reducing disproportionate minority contact.

The training effort is funded by the Zellerbach Family Foundation.