Review: How to Encourage Positive Police Interactions with Juveniles

Reviewer: Sarah Krantz, Esq.

Article to be Reviewed: International Association of Chiefs of Police, The Effects of Adolescent Development on Policing (2014) http://www.iacp.org/Portals/0/documents/pdfs/IACPBriefEffectsofAdolescentDevelopmentonPolicing.pdf.


Juveniles, until they reach their mid-20s, do not have the mature brain development to fully understand and grasp the consequences of their actions. Therefore, juveniles make poor choices resulting in police interactions.

Research shows that healthy adult relationships can facilitate positive youth development and reduce the likelihood of delinquent behaviors. It should be the job of police to ensure, in their interactions with juveniles, that they are reinforcing positive behaviors rather than encouraging negative behaviors. Police can improve their juvenile interactions with 10strategies.

  1. Refrain from arguing with youths. Approach with a calm demeanor and let them know you are there to help.
  2. Establish rapport and try to make juveniles feel comfortable.
  3. Be patient and listen.
  4. Model the respect you are hoping to get in return from the juvenile. Show your professionalism during all points of interaction.
  5. Use language that the juvenile is likely to understand based on his or her age.
  6. Repeat statements and confirm thoughts.
  7. Take caution with nonverbal communication and act naturally.
  8. Model and praise calm confidence.
  9. Allow juveniles to ask questions—give them choices.
  10. Always serve as a positive adult role model.