U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government, Department of Justice.

Can Law Enforcement Training Address Racial and Ethnic Disproportionality? An Experimental Evaluation of Effective Youth Interactions

Award Information

Award #
Funding Category
Competitive Discretionary
Awardee County
Congressional District
Funding First Awarded
Total funding (to date)

Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2023, $999,996)

The proposed research will increase knowledge on policing practices and enhance efforts to promote racial equity by evaluating the impact of a unique law enforcement training program, Effective Youth Interactions, across 21 police departments in Contra Costa County, California. Effective Youth Interactions seeks to improve law enforcement officer-youth interactions, reduce youth entry into legal systems, and address racial and ethnic disproportionality in youth legal system involvement. The study will use a stepped-wedge cluster randomized controlled trial to test the impact of Effective Youth Interactions on law enforcement stops and referrals (i.e., misdemeanor and felony referrals by officers to the Probation Department or District Attorney) (Aim 1), test the impact of Effective Youth Interactions on officer knowledge, attitudes, and confidence (Aim 2), and assess key features of implementation (Aim 3).  Particular attention is given to Effective Youth Interaction’s impact on racial and ethnic disproportionality in youth stops and referrals and officer knowledge of and attitudes toward youth of color.  Addressing these aims, the study will provide the first rigorous evaluation of a law enforcement training program that seeks to reduce youth legal system involvement and racial and ethnic disproportionality. Products from this research will include written reports, conference presentations, and academic publications. These products will speak to whether Effective Youth Interactions works to reduce legal system involvement for youth of color. They will also provide law enforcement policy makers and administrators with an understanding of implementation features that should be considered in future attempts to integrate Effective Youth Interactions and similar interventions into practice. Together, these outputs will provide much needed guidance to policy makers and practitioners in juvenile justice and law enforcement as they work to improve law enforcement-youth relations and address racial and ethnic disparities in youth legal system involvement. CA/NCF

Date Created: September 28, 2023