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How much does the Community Immersion Program increase understanding and trust between the police and residents?

Project started: July 1, 2022
Department or Agency: San Antonio Police Department

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Project Overview


In a new pilot starting in mid 2022, police cadets will complete, as part of their Academy Training, an internship with a volunteering community stakeholder (e.g. a local business owner, non-profit organization, or civic leader). Cadets will spend about 2.5 hours per week immersed with the stakeholder to learn about and become familiar with the local community. The internship will last about 14 weeks.

The cadet, upon graduating Training Academy and successfully completing field training, will be assigned as an officer in the same community where the internship was completed.  The program is referred to as the Community Immersion Program.

Anticipated deliverables

  • An operational manual, describing how the Community Immersion Program is designed.
  • An implementation study of the pilot cohort, to learn how to most effectively deliver the designed program.
  • Qualitative interviews with cadets and mentors in pilot cohort, for preliminary learnings on self-reported experiences with the program. 
  • A draft pre-analysis plan, preparing for a randomized controlled trial (RCT) once program implementation is stabilized and size of cohort expanded.

Planned use of results

  • Learning the impact of the Community Immersion Program would be of immediate value to SAPD’s planning (e.g. of whether to continue and expand the program) as well as inform the national and international debate on policing reform. Indeed, the results of the multi-city RCT of the CIP pilot would likely garner substantial attention, placing SATX at the forefront of policing best practices.

The project is in progress.

We plan to post results and deliverables when the project is complete. In the meantime, we welcome questions about the project.

Project point of contact

Dr. David Yokum


The Policy Lab at Brown University

Project Team

Dr. David Yokum


The Policy Lab at Brown University

Dr. Andrea Headley

McCourt School of Public Policy

Georgetown University

Dr. Durant Frantzen

Department Chair & Professor, Social Sciences

Texas A&M University San Antonio

Officer Joel Pope

Community Engagement, San Antonio Police Department

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