Objectives: To develop, implement, and evaluate a training program in aging-related health for police officers.
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.
© 2017, Copyright the Authors Journal compilation © 2017, The American Geriatrics Society.