Annotation: Findings and methodology are reported for an evaluation of an innovative police training program intended to promote the Seattle Police Department’s (SPD’s) officers’ use of procedural justice.
Procedural justice implemented by officers follows the LEED model of interaction with citizens. LEED is an acronym for “listen and explain with equity and dignity.” This model of interaction by police with persons involved in a computer-assisted dispatch (CAD) event requires that the officer listen to the involved parties’ questions and answers; explain why police intervention is warranted; be respectful of the rights, feelings, and dignity of involved persons; and explain clearly and respectfully how the officer is going to handle the situation prompting the (CAD). The SPD innovative officer training program in procedural justice had three components. First, it applied insights from criminology and statistics in developing a new kind of early intervention system called a “High Risk Circumstance” (HRC) model. This model identifies officers serving areas that place them at high risk for problematic citizen encounters that could involve assaults on officers, intoxicated persons, etc. In a second component, sergeants trained in the LEED model guide officers in implementing this model in officer-citizen encounters. A third program component provides experimental evidence of the positive impact of a procedural justice training program that links officer interactive techniques with incident outcomes. This evaluation of the use of the HRC and LEED models concludes that officers who had at least one meeting in which they reviewed with their supervisors how they approached relatively standard citizen encounters were less likely than non-participating (control) officers to engage in behaviors that reduced police legitimacy with the public. In addition, over the longer term, trained officers were less likely to be involved in use-of-force incidents; however, there was no evidence that officers in the training program were less likely than control officers to receive complaints from the public.