What are the similarities and differences in terms of police reactions to juvenile crime?

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mizzwillie | Middle School Teacher | (Level 1) Senior Educator

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The similarities and differences in police reactions to juveniles in trouble with the law are quite varied according to police training and individual personalities.  The similarities are often related to the training police are given to handle pressure situations, to make instant decisions, and their own background in military training if they are former military.  Similarities might be the ability to withstand taunting, react instantly if guns come in to play, or to work in tandem with other officers to control a situation.  The differences can also be in training as more police departments are delivering mental health training to help deal with the escalating numbers of incidents where the mentally ill are not finding available treatment for severe disorders and the resulting meltdowns.  Many departments are now using the techniques such as softer, slower voices, slow approaches to the person if safety allows, asking the person questions to keep them responding, and in general to slow down the entire situation in hope of de-escalating the person and situation.  Personal differences also play a role as officers are people like anyone else.  If they have children of their own, been taught to use techniques like active listening,are empathetic with kids, or worked extensively with teens, they have a better chance of getting the juvenile to back down or go with them calmly.  However, all of this depends on the situation as officers put their lives on the line every day, are asked to make life threatening decisions in an instant, are given little credit for the good that they do, and are under constant scrutiny.  I'm not excusing belligerent officers who don't follow the law, but I believe most officers try to do a good job in very difficult circumstances.

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