New Sheriff’s Office Training Course: First of Its Kind Nationally
Spokane County Sheriff Ozzie Knezovich is proud to announce on December 6, 2016, the Sheriff’s Office received notification from the International Association of Directors of Law Enforcement Standards and Training (IADLEST), it had achieved the IADLEST National Certification Program Seal of Excellence for a new Sheriff’s Office training course, Interaction and Perception.
The Interaction and Perception training combines two training programs into one: Strategic Interaction and Implicit Bias Trainings.
Initially, Dr. Bryan Vila and his team at Washington State University received funding under a Defense Department project, known as Strategic Social Interaction Modules (SSIM), to produce strategic interaction training. The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) funded several partners to participate in creating the SSIM program. The goal of this program was to design uniquely encompassing methods to train personnel how to strategically interact with and adapt to people and places foreign to them, regardless of specific culture or type of engagement. In short, how to make personnel into “good strangers” who can appropriately assess and adapt in order to socially engage in any scenario.
Washington State University’s role in the SSIM project was to design a strategic interaction training program—an innovative non-lecture, classroom-based and community-based curriculum designed to teach students the skills to conduct a successful encounter, and the ability to build traction for future successful encounters within any cultural and community context.
The SSIM program has been demonstrated to enhance law enforcement personnel’s ability to adapt to and navigate culturally diverse environments, as well as complex social situations, while maintaining strong tactical awareness. It places community contacts in a context that allows for simple steps—from the planning stages prior to an encounter through disengagement. It enhances a student’s self-awareness, analytical abilities, situational awareness, and interactive skills.
The Spokane County Sheriff’s Office combined the DARPA SSIM strategic interaction and an implicit bias training program into a condensed hybrid, student centered Interaction and Perception training class. This approach allows for the understanding and identification of personal biases to act as a foundational component of accurate and effective pre-planning along with the observation/assessment of the student and others prior to engaging in an encounter. It also provides relevant context for debriefing interactions with the community, focusing on how personal background and innate assumptions can frame encounters or influence vital decision making, and how adaptation to biases during encounters can increase accuracy and enhance interactions, trust and transparency with the community.
The transfer of learning requires self-evaluation of biases and cultural and emotional intelligence, observation of behavior of self, and others, during unfamiliar encounters, active listening, proper modes of adapting to unfamiliar behaviors and conflicts, meeting a person’s needs within an interaction (social or situational), and successful disengagement in order to lead to positive future encounters or to build long-term rapport.
The Interaction and Perception course is the first of its kind nationally and now that it has been recognized by the IADLEST National Certification Program Seal of excellence, Spokane County Sheriff’s Office is proud to implement the first official course January 3-4, 2017.