USC program aims to help LAPD officers build trust, de-escalate encounters with homeless, mentally ill

Los Angeles Daily News highlighted a partnership between the USC Suzanne Dworak-Peck School, USC Price School and Los Angeles Police Department on a project to educate officers on how to handle interactions with residents who may be experiencing homelessness, mental illness and addiction. “We think we’re engaged in the single most unique experiment in the country in terms of improving modern policing,” said USC Suzanne Dworak-Peck School Dean Marilyn Flynn. The story also quoted USC Price School Dean Jack Knott, Erroll Southers of the USC Price School and John Brekke of the USC Suzanne Dworak-Peck School about the importance of the Law Enforcement Advanced Development (LEAD) program and how they developed the curriculum.

Now, USC has partnered with the Los Angeles Police Department in a pilot project that aims to curb violence on city streets while building trust with the community’s most vulnerable segments.  USC’s Erroll Southers said when he co-teaches the part of the program about extremism and conflict resolution, he conveys the idea that the community – rather than law enforcement – knows best about what are their most pressing issues and how best to handle them.  “This is about the community owning the problem,” Southers said.

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