A unique partnership between the Grand Valley State University Police Academy and the nonprofit Dispute Resolution Center of West Michigan is providing cadets with additional training beyond the state requirements in effective communication skills with the public.
With law enforcement agencies receiving scrutiny for their use of force, sometimes with tragic consequences, the GVSU Police Academy is training its cadets with skills in mediation and conflict resolution to diffuse situations, said Williamson Wallace, director of Criminal Justice Training.
“When you look at the majority of what the officer does, it’s going out there trying to diffuse things and give people resources,” said Wallace, a former law enforcement officer. “If they’re unable to communicate effectively in these situations, then sometimes the situations tend to escalate.
“We want to give the cadets all the tools necessary so they can properly handle situations so they’re not put in a position where they have to use force.”