(STUDY FINDS) -- EVANSTON, Ill. — Renowned American psychologist Abraham Maslow once said that, “If all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail.” It’s a thought provoking notion, and one that can easily be applied to many police department’s reaction to protestors or the slightest hint on non-compliance. Officers are trained to use authority and force to produce results, and while such measures are certainly necessary sometimes, there have also been far too many recent examples of police using unjustified and excessive force on civilians.
So, what’s the solution? Provide police with more than just a hammer, or in this case, train them to not to immediately turn to physical force. That’s the main finding of a new study from Northwestern University that investigated the effects of a procedural justice training program which included more than 8,000 Chicago police officers. They found that the training program reduced complaints filed against the police by 10% and reduced use of force among officers by 6% over the following two years.
“The CPD is undergoing significant reform on multiple fronts, through a consent decree, including new top leadership and now a response to an unprecedented health epidemic,” says Andrew Papachristos, co-author of the study and a professor of sociology in the Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences at Northwestern, in a release. “Fundamental to such reforms is repairing trust with the larger community. Reducing force and misconduct in a way that is fair and transparent by adopting procedural justice strategies is one key way to repair trust.”
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