SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (WCIA) — Police officers have to make split-second decisions. A new training program in Central Illinois will make sure those decisions are based on facts and not hunches.

The University of Illinois-Springfield has received $699,190 for a law enforcement training program to equip them with skills to help them strengthen the relationship they have with the communities they serve and protect. The grant for the program is from the Department of Justice’s Community Oriented Policing Services, and was secured by U.S. Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL).

“This investment will help law enforcement better understand and empathize with individuals from diverse backgrounds, identify and address biases, and navigate traumatic experiences, ultimately enhancing their ability to serve their communities,” Durbin said. “I’ve been an advocate for the University of Illinois Springfield’s efforts to strengthen police and community relations, and I look forward to witnessing the positive impact this funding and training will have across the region.”

The program will focus on instruction on Problem-Based learning, and how traumatic experiences influence decisions.

“The Alliance anticipates that officers participating in this training will be better equipped to interact with a broader scope of populations within our increasingly diverse communities,” Betsy Goulet, director of the UIS Alliance for Experiential Problem-Based Learning, said.

The training is not just designed for helping law enforcement in the field, but also on their well-being.

“What we know is that if we are physically emotionally and mentally unwell, that’s the energy we’re going to bring with us, to our interactions with the public,” Josh Friedman, the Law Enforcement Specialist for the Alliance for Experiential Problem-Based Learning, said. “And the people that we interact with, they feel that energy and they feed off of that. And that can create those negative unfavorable interactions.”

The Alliance is designing a pilot program, and hopes to use the pilot program to train 1,5000 officers by next October.