Benefits In‎ > ‎

In Policing

Empathy can be better than force, Twin Cities police trainers teach
More police officers are getting special training to approach mental health crises with calm, not force.
By Nicole Norfleet and Kelly Smith
MARCH 24, 2015 

  • "Instead of confronting the man, an officer who had just completed training on defusing tense encounters calmly asked him questions and listened to his concerns."
  • + deescalation
  • - complaints 
  • - officer injuries.
  • - confrontations
  • "practiced a role-playing scenario, with an actor portraying an agitated person who had just been fired."
  •  "paraphrase the man’s concerns"

How do you stop police brutality against blacks?
Tim Dawes
November 30, 2017
"In place of lawsuits, “we’re going to solve this by empathizing,” she said. ”We're going to solve it with compassion and we're going to solve it with common sense.”

What does that look like on the ground? How do you “operationalize” empathy and compassion in the face of raids led by dozens of police officers who smash furniture, punch holes in walls, destroy family photos, spray graffiti messages such as “LAPD Rules,” and ultimately round up sometimes over a thousand gang members in a single campaign?
For Rice, the first step was listening. Over an 18-month period, she listened to more than 900 police officers. “It was almost like a therapy session for them,” she said. And what she heard from these men—who were often big and who were always armed—was fear."

Can Empathy Improve Policing?

By Jill Suttie

"New training programs that help police to listen, stay calm, and communicate during charged encounters may lead to fewer arrests and less use of force. While the research is largely preliminary, some of the findings suggest that empathy—being able to see interactions from another’s perspective and understand the emotions involved—may play an important role in policing."

Police have dangerous jobs, but some empathy could make everyone safer
by Chad Posick - Georgia Southern University

April 29, 2015

(Empathic Policing) Police have dangerous jobs, but some empathy could make everyone safer | Empathy and Justice |

"Right now, it might seem impossible to eliminate the us-versus-them mindset that permeates society, but optimistically, I do not think that we are at an impasse. What we have to do is look at a trait that all humans already possess: empathy."

"Recent research has examined the role of empathy in police-community relations and reveals that when officers listened and expressed understanding during their interactions with citizens, they were more likely to be trusted, legitimized, and deemed effective in protecting the community."

Empathy on the street: How understanding between police and communities makes us safer
by Chad Posick -
 Georgia Southern University
April 20, 2015

"Empathy has evolved in humans and other mammals over time. It allows us to understand the emotions of others and share in those emotions. Expressing empathy has many advantages: it increases cooperation (we like to help each other out when we feel that we are understood), reduces stress and it may even feel good."

The Role of Empathy in Crime, Policing, and Justice
by Chad Posick - Georgia Southern University
March 2013

"My associates and I have reviewed recent research and done some additional analyses to pin down what is currently known about empathy – and perceptions of empathy – in the realm of crime and justice. When other factors, like age, sex, race, education, and income are taken into account, empathy turns out to matter in several ways:"

More Than a Feeling: Integrating Empathy Into the Study of Lawmaking, Lawbreaking, and Reactions to Lawbreaking
International Journal of Offender Therapy and Comparative Criminology
by Chad Posick, Michael Rocque, Nicole Rafter 

"This study discusses the importance of empathy for criminology and uses a set of research examples to exemplify the relationships between empathy and outcomes important to criminology. Empathy emerges as an important predictor of criminal behavior, support for harsh laws, and perceptions of police effectiveness. Future research should incorporate measures of empathy when seeking to understand individual feelings and behaviors as they relate to important facets of criminology and criminal justice."

July 17, 2016

Denver: Local police veteran providing empathy training for police officers | Empathy and Justice |

"He does....believe more empathy training could be a solution to some of the situations we’ve recently seen."
  • Mentions Phil Saraff - behavioral analysis expert, conducting training across the U.S. 

Madeline St. Amour
 "exposing his students to a wide range of cultures, ideologies and viewpoints, an “empathy-based” approach"
  • Thomas College instructor Steven Dyer, who’s been teaching criminal justice for six years,

by Libero Della Piana
July 14, 2016 

"Of course empathy is important and we should encourage it. But the president falls short; empathy alone will never end the regular and widespread killing of black people in disproportionate numbers. It’s a racist system, not a few individual racist police that devalues black lives and leaves us dead so easily."
  • Libero Della Piana the Alliance for a Just Society as a Senior Organizer in 2014 ( facebook message sent)

A Real Conversation on Police and Society Requires Empathy for Police, Too by Scott Erickson - president of Americans in Support of Law Enforcement.
July 13, 2016 
A Real Conversation Requires Empathy for Police, Too | Empathy and Justice |

"Empathy is a vitally important element of effective policing. But to be truly effective, empathy must be shared and understood as a two-way street."
  • Scott Erickson - president of Americans in Support of Law Enforcement. (to email)

Feb 14, 2016

Teaching cops empathy to deter use of force | Empathy and Justice |

"The conference, titled “Use of Force: Taking Policing to a Higher Standard,” was held in Washington, D.C.... The class, dubbed “Effective Interactions,” teaches new officers how to manage tense situations through communication... At the heart of the approach is emotional intelligence, basically, being self aware and empathetic."

How can we build better police forces? 
A former Baltimore police officer emphasizes the need for empathy and criticizes the 'us vs. them' attitude common on police forces...
By Sarah Caspar
June 28, 2015

" One key to building a more empathetic force is to hire more officers who come from the types of communities they are charged with protecting, says Wood."
  • Mentions Richmond Police Chief Chris Magnus
  • Michael Wood 11-year tenure as a Baltimore police officer  (Website)(article) (invited via linkedin)  My main call is for empathy.
  • Michael Wood "I care nothing of flags, borders, and other social constructs of division. Many of those listening lack empathy for the LGBT… community. Take a long hard look in the mirror if you lack empathy for LGBT causes, while expecting empathy from others. In that same vein, some empathy needs to be extended to the current and past police officers who are caught up in a blinding culture."

Officers receiving more training for mental health emergencies
by Marie Wilson

Empathic Policing: New mental health approach for police: Offering solutions: The course is all about building empathy in the officers | Empathy and Justice |

"The course builds empathy through human interaction. Woody said trained police leaders who facilitate the courses have their students meet people with mental illnesses "when they're having a good day because police officers usually don't see them when they're having a good day, only when they're in crisis."

LAPD orders officers to show 'compassion and empathy' to homeless people

Richmond police chief: 'All lives matter. That's really what community policing should be about.'
by Brad Marshland
Video by Katie Couric

(Empathic Policing) Richmond police chief:  That's really what community policing should be about.' | Empathy and Justice |

"Since Magnus took over as Chief in Richmond, he has instituted geographic policing, where officers are assigned to specific beats over an extended period of time, sometimes as long as several years. He has also challenged his officers to do more than just respond to calls. "
  • Chris Magnus - Richmond CA Police Chief

How Empathy Can Close the Gap Created by Crime: 
Edwin Rutsch interviews Pete Wallis 

"Victim empathy work helps them to acknowledge that it is real people that they have harmed. Empathy engenders a sense of shared experience, and an identification with and understanding of the other person's situation, feelings and motives. Empathy has the potential to profoundly change our interactions with one another."

Youth/police sessions break down barriers
By Tom Bannister

"Seven police officers met with thirteen young people last week at the Somerville Police Department, the purpose of which was to speak one-on-one together, break through stereotypes and find some common ground as fellow Somerville citizens".

Chad Posick, Joe Brummer, Michael Rocque, Edwin Rutsch

'The role of empathy in policing, both empathy for and by the police, is gaining attention from criminal justice researchers and practitioners. While research on the effectiveness and importance of empathy in policing is limited, the existing research indicates that empathy increases perceptions of legitimacy and trust in the police. 

This panel discusses a range of issues related to the role of empathy in criminal behavior, punishment, and policing with a specific emphasis on training police on how to incorporate empathy into their work."

If we can fight crime with empathy... So I suppose my point is and the challenge is, If we can make empathy one of the most effective tools in fighting crime....What else can we solve with empathy? I've got no doubt that people that have the opportunity to put their empathy into action, become better people and do better business."

YouTube Video

 “Police have always felt empathy, but now they do more than feel it—they act on it. My challenge was for other organisations to take on empathy and act on it. It might be out of the scope of their core business but it makes them better people,” 

Time out for empathy
By Bob Schneider, August 19, 2016 
"Lack of empathy is causing us great problems as a nation. I have white friends who don't understand Black Lives Matter and falsely think it is a radical anti-police movement. Not being African-American and pulled over by the police, they don't understand the inherent fear that goes with that just based on their race."

 “Although we know dialogue around diversity and equity is challenging, we believe that the collective learning that takes place and the new lines of communications that are created can powerfully inform your cooperative efforts to address the organization’s internal and external inclusion and equity concerns in a more purposeful manner. Viewed from this standpoint, the dialogue we are suggesting the team lead is not intended to be a substitute for planning. Instead, the dialogue is intended to inform the development of strategic and concerted actions to embed diversity, inclusion, equity concerns into the normal planning and development processes of each community organization.”