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Missouri Safety Center Receives Subaward to Help Develop Virtual De-Escalation Training Through Active Learning for Police Organizations

By Jeff Murphy, April 2, 2024

missouri-safety-center-logoWARRENSBURG, MO – The University of Central Missouri has been included as a subaward recipient for the De-Escalation Training through Active Learning (DeTAL) Assessment and Research Center initiative through Western Illinois University’s (WIU) Psychology Department. The cooperative agreement is made possible through the United States Department of Justice's Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) Office  to help develop this cutting-edge virtual training center.

The subaward received by UCM is for approximately $288,000. It will be administered by the university's Missouri Safety Center.

The DeTAL Center, located in Macomb, Illinois, is positioned to become a pivotal resource, not only for West Central Illinois and Missouri, but also for the broader Midwest region and beyond. This internet-based initiative is tailored to serve the diverse communities and police organizations in the area, offering virtual training to rural, suburban and urban police organizations.

The DeTAL Center focuses on evidence-based de-escalation content and scenario-based practice. The uniqueness of this initiative is in the incorporation of community feedback on de-escalation curriculum content and scenarios. As an extension of the Professional Research Pool for Criminal Justice Science (, DeTal will augment evidence-based policing and the educational work already conducted through the Illinois Law Enforcement Training and Standards Board Executive Institute (ILETSBEI) ( goal of this initiative is to ensure that officer scenario-based training reflects the lived experiences of community members that influences officer-citizen interactions.

Joanne Kurt-Hilditch, senior director of the Missouri Safety Center, has worked closely with Dr. Kim McClure, a teacher and researcher in the field of forensic psychology at WIU, for nearly eight years in development of the Professional Research Pool and a focus on perceptions of community members and police response.  This project will also explore culture in relation to race and ethnicity, developing scenarios that better reflect the lived experiences of people living in the Midwest. Fundamental to this point is an acknowledgement that “one size” doesn’t fit all in terms of police service.

The DeTAL Center's mission is to develop and assess soft-skills curriculum for optimal interactions between community members and emergency service professionals generally. The comprehensive approach emphasizes community member and officer wellness that involves:
● Developing and evaluating instructional options (e.g., online, virtual reality).
● Creating criteria and evaluating strategies for de-escalation certification.
● Soliciting feedback from community members about de-escalation training.
● Developing trauma-informed curriculum.
● Increasing awareness of the influence of group dynamics and cultural perspectives within human 

In collaboration with regional partners, the Police Training Institute at the University of Illinois and REALTrainingSystems (RTS, LLC), the project aims to implement an adult-learning model tailored for virtual scenario-based de-escalation training that contributes to the professionalism of officers and the health and wellness of community members and officers alike.

For more information on the program please email the Missouri Safety Center at



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