workshop design for police training

Spring 2019


There is a growing need for police training on community relationships and issues of race in the United States. We developed a workshop that would engage police officers to ask themselves what changes they would make to their own department to meet their evolving idea of what an ideal relationship with the community looks like.


Research | Concept Development

Partners: Kyle Tengco | Alin Clement


In the Experience Design graduate program at Northeastern University, the Experience Design Studio 2 course collaborated with the Northeastern Civil Rights and Restorative Justice project to explore how the materias developed by the CRRJ might be used in a 1-hour training for police officers. Kyle, Alin, and I worked together to create a workshop for these officers.


Literature Review | Perception Gap Analysis | Service Concept Statement Development | Journey Mapping | Storyboarding | Service Blueprint | Experience Prototyping


This project took place over the course of five weeks. We developed the project over that time through the following steps:

  • General Research
  • Perception Gap Analysis
  • Service Concept Statement
  • Activity Generation
  • Journey Mapping
  • Storyboarding
  • Service Blueprint
  • Experience Prototype

What follows is a description of each of those steps.

General Research

We conducted a review of the following:

  • Police academy policies and training
  • How specific police departments communicate and handle community relationships
  • National perception of police across races

We confirmed and uncovered the following:

  • The job of a police officer is demanding
  • It is difficult for police officers to make the right decision
  • There is strong organizational inertia
  • There is a rhetoric of "policing for all"
  • There is a national tension between police and community

Perception Gap Analysis

The goal of our perception gap analysis was to identify the gaps in perception between the service provider (CRRJ) and those being provided the service (the police). We felt that the police had to be split into the police as organization and police as individual officers in order to understand the relationship between service provider and recipient.

What we ultimately found through this was that an approach to support desired behavior through systematic changes may be more effective than asking police officers to make the desired changes as individuals.

The full perception gap analysis can be found here.

Service Concept Statement

Our research and analysis was synthesized into a comprehensive statement to guide the development of the service.

The service concept statement is as follows:

Activity Generation

To build our workshop, we had to come up with ideas for activities for the officers to complete that would fulfill the goals of the workshop. What we wanted were activities that would engage police officers, get them to think critically about their relationship with their community, yet not anger or insult them.

The three activities that we concluded might work best for the workshop were the following:

  • Discuss Ideal Vision: Police officers discuss what their ideal vision of a relationship with the community is to engage them critically and get them invested in the nexus of the workshop.
  • Review CRRJ Material and Discuss: Police officers read narratives from the CRRJ reading room to see the relationship with the police from the perspective of the public at a different point in time in order to empathize and begin to understand the history of the relationship.
  • Design Activity: Police officers are challenged to identify what part of the police department they would change in order to improve their new understanding of a positive relationship with the community.

Journey Mapping

Having identified the three tent-poles of the workshop, we decided to journey map the experience to identify the interstitial moments and understand how police officers might feel about the activities in the context we create.

The journey map is as follows:


To understand what the workshop might look and feel like before proceeding deeper into the developed concept, we decided to storyboard our work.

What we found through our visual representation was that the tone was decidedly serious. We felt this tone was a strength of our work and maintained it in the subsequent steps.

Service Blueprint

A service blueprint was developed to help determine how this workshop would be coordinated with materials, staff, and how the police awareness of these support structures would be managed.

To view the service blueprint, click here.

Experience Prototype

As part of a presentation, we performed a condensed version of the 1-hour workshop which can be viewed in the video below.