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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 200452 Find in a Library
Title: Effective Management of Mistaken Involvement Stops
Journal: Police Chief  Volume:70  Issue:5  Dated:May 2003  Pages:35-41
Author(s): Richard J. Rappoport
Date Published: May 2003
Page Count: 7
Type: Instructional Material
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This article describes a four-step process to be used by a police officer when he/she realizes that a vehicle stop he/she has made under suspicion that the driver has been involved in a crime subsequently proves not to be the case.
Abstract: From internal affairs complaints, media stories, meetings with minority groups, and citizen comments in public forums, it is clear that incidents of police stops of people suspected of but subsequently found not to be involved in a crime occur in most jurisdictions at least occasionally. If not handled properly, such stops, particularly when they involve minority citizens, can give the impression to the citizens involved and to the community at large that the police are engaged in racial profiling or harassment of citizens. Convinced that better training of officers in handling such situations was required, police chiefs and sheriffs in the Washington, DC, Metropolitan Area worked with the Northern Virginia Criminal Justice Academy in developing a training program to provide officers with the skills and techniques for better resolving "mistaken-involvement" encounters with citizens. The format developed for the training focuses on four activities to be undertaken by an officer in a largely sequential process after determining that the citizen stopped has not been involved in a crime. The steps are as follows: de-escalate and defuse the confrontational aspects of the encounter and manage the perceptions created by the police actions; explain and empathize so the citizen understands why the stop occurred and that the officer regrets the anxiety that the stop has caused; apologize, which involves acknowledgement of any police-related errors that may have led to the stop; and "leave them in control," which involves the officer asking the citizen whether the officer can take some action suggested by the officer to help mitigate some of the effects of the stop.
Main Term(s): Patrol Training
Index Term(s): Police human relations training; Police policies and procedures; Police-citizen interactions; Vehicle stops
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