Date of Submission


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Criminal Justice (Ph.D.)


Criminal Justice


David L. Myers, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Stephanie Bonnes, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Lisa Dadio, M.S.

Committee Member

Morgan J. Steele, Ph.D.

LC Subject Headings

Law enforcement, Due process of law, Police brutality


High profile incidents of police misconduct and excessive use of force, particularly in cases of racialized violence against unarmed Black men, have led to a sociopolitical reckoning with the American criminal justice system. Following several of these incidents in the past decade, scholars, policymakers, and the public all have called for significant reform and the prioritization of de-escalation skills for law enforcement officers during citizen interactions. Despite these efforts, little empirical evidence has been established regarding the effectiveness and generalizability of de-escalation training programs. The current research represents a mixed-methods evaluation of the National De-escalation Training Center’s program at both the national and regional levels. The current study utilized pre- and post-training data from over 500 trainees in the 6-month study period. Utilizing quantitative data, the current study found that exposure to training resulted in improved procedural justice attitudes and exhibited de-escalation strategies that are personalized to the individual subject. Exposure to higher education also consistently informed these attitudinal and behavioral changes, while other demographic variables had limited effects. These findings support the efforts of NDTC to provide a personality assessment-based de-escalation strategy training for in-service law enforcement. Qualitative data primarily uncovered the ways in which officers seek to deflect sociopolitical calls for change and deny their personal connection to misconduct within the profession. Considerations of future research include the collection of use of force data from agencies who participate in this program to aid in a more comprehensive understanding of the long-term effects of NDTC’s training and the effectiveness of changes to approaching citizen encounters more broadly. The limitations of the current work and additional directions for research are also discussed.