Researchers at the Center for BrainHealth, part of the University of Texas at Dallas, in collaboration with its Brain Performance Institute developed a new program to help police officers make decisions in stressful situations.
The program will offer special training to 500 police officers that will strengthen the brain’s frontal networks, which supports planning, reasoning, decision-making and emotional stress management, the university announced.
“How a life in law enforcement affects the brain is unknown and woefully understudied among the scientific community,” said Dr. Leanne Young, executive director of the Brain Performance Institute. “With this work, we hope to not only improve and positively affect the lives of the men and women in blue but also contribute to the body of neuroscience research, advancing the study of brain health among police officers and other first responders.”
The 18-month program is called Strategic Memory Advanced Reasoning Training (SMART). The initiative was funded by a donation from philanthropist Lyda Hill.
“Following the devastating day of July 7, 2016, in Dallas, where five law enforcement officers were killed in the line of duty, I knew I had to do something to help those who take care of us daily,” Hill said in a statement. “I hope this effort gives the Dallas Police Department the foundation it needs to consistently make the brain of its officers a top priority.”
Members of the DPD’s command department recently completed the SMART program.
“The department is embracing the strategies taught to improve day-to-day decision-making, reasoning, and critical thinking skills when interacting with the citizens of Dallas,” interim Dallas Police Chief David Pughes said. We are eager to share both of these innovative training opportunities with the entire department thanks to the generosity of Ms. Lyda Hill.”
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