As Senate Bill 1 (SB 1) about school resources officers continues its journey through the legislature, there is a moment to reflect on the training that these special officers and all police officers receive on interacting with juveniles. In Indianapolis, Lisa Thurau’s group, Strategies for Youth (SFY), has been contracted to offer specialized trainings at the Marion County Sheriff’s Department, but the approach has not been expanded beyond Indiana’s biggest city.
SFY recently published a survey of law enforcement academies and found that nationally and in Indiana less than 1% of the training curriculum is spent on juvenile matters. What is covered is generally the peculiarities of the juvenile code, rather than the practical skills of dealing with juveniles and their unique developmental and prevalent mental health issues. At Indiana’s Law Enforcement Academy, six hours is devoted to juvenile justice training out of 600 hours of police academy training. Find the complete report here.