Local officers participate in Policing the Teen Brain training
Saturday, 27 January 2018 17:51

A number of local police and probation officers took part in a nationally recognized training called Policing the Teen Brain this month in Plymouth.

This training also included Pulaski County Juvenile Justice staff, Starke County officers and probation, and officers from Marion County.

The training was paid through grant funding and organized by local Juvenile Detention Alternatives Initiative (JDAI) coordinators, Sara Preston of Strake County and Dr. Natalie Daily-Federer of Pulaski County.

“We were really excited to host this training, and it was very interesting to learn about how the teen brain works which is completely different from that of an adult,” said Daily-Federer. “The officers all said that in their police trainings, they spend little to no time on understanding how to work with juveniles. Their trainings focus mostly on to how to work with adults who come into contact with the justice system.”

Policing the Teen Brain was developed by Strategies for Youth (SFY) and this 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.

“Judges have had the benefit of education based on scientific evidence for some time now that the portion of the human brain which processes adult-like, executive decisions does not mature until about age 23-25.  In other words, kids don’t reason like we adults do on the spur of the moment,” said Judge Michael A. Shurn, Pulaski Circuit Court.

“Through JDAI, we are now able to share our education with law enforcement.  That education has been proven to make a difference throughout Indiana in de-escalating conflict situations in the field," he continued. "This training doesn’t mean that we don’t hold juveniles accountable for their behavior; it means that we deal with their behavior in better way, with better results in the end. I want commend our local law enforcement officers for working with JDAI and participating in this training.”

This training was an intensive four-day train-the- trainer program and the officers who participated at a local level, will then work with probation and JDAI to develop local two-day trainings for their fellow officers within the next year.

Local organizations where invited to take part in different aspects of the trainings. Local Systems Coordinator, Pulaski Human Resources, DCS of Pulaski County, and Pulaski County Public Library all sent representatives to talk about their organizations and the services they provide to youth. Students from Ancilla College’s Criminal Justice program also took part in some role playing with the officers one afternoon. The officers got to hear, first-hand, from youth about their perceptions of law enforcement.

Indiana is one of nearly 300 JDAI sites in 40 states and the District of Columbia to implement the JDAI process and the eight core strategies to enhance and improve their juvenile justice systems.

Indiana continues to be a national leader in advancing the cause of an equitable and effective juvenile justice system.


Written and submitted by Dr. Natalie Daily-Federer, This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it