WEST HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) — The University of New Haven announced on Wednesday that it has received a $1 million grant to support de-escalation training in police departments.

The university stated that through its Center for Advanced Policing, the grant provided by the Department of Justice (DOJ) will be used to build a de-escalation training program, which will be offered to police departments across the Northeast.

“The University of New Haven has a long-established reputation as a leader in delivering quality law enforcement training,” said Lisa Dadio, director of the Center for Advanced Policing and assistant dean of the Lee College of Criminal Justice and Forensic Science.

Dadio is also a retired police lieutenant with the New Haven Police Department who spent 16 years in the detective division.

“The awarding of this grant […] allows us to deliver this one-of-a-kind de-escalation training to law enforcement agencies in the Northeast free of charge,” she added.

The overarching goal of the program is simple: teach effective de-escalation tactics. De-escalation training, according to the DOJ, promotes safe interactions between police and civilians. It also takes a new approach to using force, having officers ask themselves ‘Should I use force?’ rather than ‘Can I use force?’

According to the university, some of the specific goals of the training include:

  • Increasing the skills, abilities, and practice of law enforcement in advanced de-escalation efforts
  • Developing knowledge about the effectiveness of de-escalation training as an evidence-based practice
  • Enhancing awareness and implementing the practice of de-escalation as a community-policing strategy, which reduces the use of force in order to increase community support for law enforcement

As part of the program, officers will be trained in de-escalation tactics that are proven to reduce the use of force. They will also help to build stronger ties between the police and the communities they serve.

It is expected to be a 16-hour course, taught by current and former officers who were certified through a 40-hour interactive, scenario-based, and intensive training session.