OJJDP News @ A GlanceOJP seal
OJJDP News @ A Glance
May | June 2009

printer friendly version button   Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention  ·  Jeff Slowikowski, Acting Administrator
Training Aims To Improve Interactions Between Law Enforcement and Adolescent Girls

The International Association of Chiefs of Police logoThe International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP) conducted a pilot program April 27–29, 2009, entitled "Law Enforcement Responses to Adolescent Girls," a training course that educates law enforcement personnel on the best ways to approach and interact with adolescent girls during police calls. The pilot program, which was cosponsored by OJJDP and the Office of Justice Programs and held in Philadelphia, PA, attracted nearly 55 participants from the law enforcement community.

The goals of the course are to—

  • Explain trends in girls' behavior and how it differs from boys' behavior.
  • Practice different ways to interpret teen girls' behavior and to assist officers in assessing and responding to situations.
  • Explore communication strategies law enforcement officers can use to gather information, deescalate potential crisis situations, and enhance decisionmaking.
  • Examine the alternative options to arresting girls that are available to law enforcement personnel.

IACP distributed a survey among its members asking what kind of training courses they would find most useful and a large number of respondents cited the need for additional information on dealing with adolescent girls. Members said that a high level of expertise is needed to interact effectively with this population and that increased information on proper techniques and procedures might reduce the arrest rates for teen girls. Research from OJJDP's Girls Study Group has shown that the increase in the arrest rates for girls during the last decade is in part attributable to a change in arrest policies that encourage officers to make an arrest during domestic disturbance calls.

The course is expected to be offered regularly through IACP starting in mid-June, once the results of the pilot course have been evaluated and the training has been modified accordingly. More information about the course will be available at that time.

For information about other IACP training courses, please visit the IACP training Web site. Please visit OJJDP's resource page on Girls' Delinquency for more information about OJJDP's efforts to address and reduce girls' delinquency.