July 28-29: Police partnership prompts training conference

By Lorraine Nelson, WSU Spokane

police-health-conferenceSPOKANE, Wash. – A conference for first responders and mental health professionals will be July 28-29 at Washington State University Spokane.

WSU Spokane, mental health and law enforcement professionals will make presentations. Attendees from the mental health, law enforcement, first responder and WSU faculty and student communities are invited to attend. Learn more and register at http://rsvplink.com/teamconference.

WSU Spokane research highlighting the stressful situations under which police officers make crucial decisions has resulted in the training, a collaboration between the Spokane Police Department, WSU researchers and Frontier Behavioral Health, a nonprofit mental health service.

The research – from the Simulated Hazardous Operational Tasks laboratory in the WSU Sleep and Performance Research Center – has been widely disseminated through some of the largest and most prominent news media outlets in the country.

Spokane police have participated in some of the media interviews and demonstrations to show how a unique simulation laboratory at WSU Spokane allows researchers to study law enforcement reactions to real-life scenarios on video.

One of the researchers, Steve James, has a contract with Spokane police to help the department revise policies and training.

The research team is led by Bryan Vila, professor in the WSU Department of Criminal Justice and Criminology, and includes Lois James, an assistant research professor in the Sleep and Performance Research Center, as well as Steve James.

Steve James and Jackie Van Wormer, also from WSU criminal justice, both will be presenters at the conference. WSU Spokane Chancellor Lisa Brown, Senior Vice Chancellor John Roll and Matt Layton, a psychiatrist and faculty member in the WSU College of Medical Sciences, also will make presentations.

WSU Spokane received a $10,000 gift to help with the conference from the Dr. George S. (Bud) Eugster Memorial Lectureship Fund. Eugster was a Spokane cardiologist.


Steve James, WSU Spokane criminal justice researcher, stevejames@wsu.edu