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J Am Geriatr Soc. 2017 Aug;65(8):1842-1847. doi: 10.1111/jgs.14899. Epub 2017 Apr 24.

Good Cop, Better Cop: Evaluation of a Geriatrics Training Program for Police.

Author information

1
Division of Geriatrics, University of California, San Francisco, California.
2
San Francisco Veterans Affairs Medical Center, San Francisco, California.
3
San Francisco Police Department, San Francisco, California.

Abstract

OBJECTIVES:

To develop, implement, and evaluate a training program in aging-related health for police officers.

DESIGN:

Cross-sectional.

SETTING:

Crisis intervention training program for police officers in San Francisco.

PARTICIPANTS:

Police officers attending one of five 2-hour trainings (N = 143).

INTERVENTION:

A lecture on aging-related health conditions pertinent to police work followed by three experiential trainings on how it feels to be "old."

MEASUREMENTS:

Participants evaluated the quality of the training and the likelihood that they would apply new knowledge to their work and rated their knowledge using a retrospective pre-post evaluation. In open-ended responses, participants reported work-related changes they anticipated making in response to the training.

RESULTS:

All 143 participants completed the evaluation. Eighty-four percent reported interacting with older adults at least monthly; 45% reported daily interactions. Participants rated the training quality at 4.6/5 and the likelihood they would apply new knowledge to their work at 4.4/5. Retrospective pre-post knowledge scores increased for all domains, including how to identify aging-related health conditions that can affect safety during police interactions (2.9/5 to 4.2/5; P < .001). In open-ended responses, participants anticipated having more empathy for and awareness of aging-related conditions and greater ability to provide older adults with appropriate community referrals.

CONCLUSION:

A brief training in aging-related health significantly increased police officers' self-reported knowledge and skills. Clinicians have an important opportunity to help enhance safe and effective community policing for older adults.

KEYWORDS:

aged; evaluation; police; training

PMID:
28436006
PMCID:
PMC5555774
DOI:
10.1111/jgs.14899
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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