Role-Play Simulation Prepares Tribal Law Enforcement Professionals to Lead More Effective Real-Life Interactions with Tribal Youth

The Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Tribal Youth Training and Technical Assistance Center, housed at the Indian Country Child Trauma Center at the University of Oklahoma Health Science Center, and Kognito, an innovator in developing evidence-based role-play simulations, have announced the launch of an interactive role-play simulation aimed at building the capacity among law enforcement professionals to lead more effective interactions with tribal youth.
The Trauma-Informed Policing With Tribal Youth simulation is available at no cost to participants at: using enrollment key “tribalyth.” “Trauma-Informed Policing with Tribal Youth is the first culturally-specific online role-play simulation,” said Dr. Dolores Bigfoot, director of the Tribal Youth Training and Technical Assistance Center. “Preliminary research demonstrates that it builds knowledge about the effects of historical and intergenerational trauma and prepares law enforcement officers to take action to reduce the trauma-response of tribal youth when interacting with police. Our goal is to bring that knowledge and skill to scale by offering all law enforcement agencies that work with tribal communities the opportunity to have their officers participate in the training.”
The Trauma-Informed Policing with Tribal Youth simulation is one of the services that the Indian Country Child Trauma Center, in its role as the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention’s Tribal Youth Training and Technical Assistance Center, provides to tribal grantees and all federally recognized tribes seeking to improve tribal juvenile justice systems. It takes about 30 minutes to complete and awards one hour of continuing education credit from the State of Oklahoma Center for Law Enforcement Education and Training (CLEET). Acquisition of continuing education credits for law enforcement personnel in other states is in progress.
Trauma-Informed Policing with Tribal Youth uses a variety of instructional approaches, including an opportunity to take on the role of a tribal law enforcement officer and interact with a virtual 15-year-old tribal youth whose childhood is marked by traumatic experiences. The virtual youth possesses personality, memory and emotions, so he responds as a real person would. In addition, a virtual coach provides education and feedback throughout the simulation. The simulation was adapted from an evidence-based learning model used with educators. It was developed with extensive input from subject matter experts from Indian Country, including youth with histories of involvement with the juvenile justice system, law enforcement and trauma specialists. The online format enables tribal and other law enforcement personnel, even in some of the most rural areas, to access this training and gain skills and experience in trauma-informed policing approaches.
“Research shows that our online role-play simulations are effective tools for American Indian and Alaska Native users,” said Dr. Glenn Albright, co-founder and director of research at Kognito. “This culturally-specific simulation has the potential to change the way law enforcement work with youth in Indian Country, where the youth are so disproportionately affected by trauma, substance abuse and suicide.”