Authors: John O’Neill, Dawn A. O’Neill, Katelyn Weed, Mark E. Hartman, William Spence, William J. Lewinski
We conducted empirical analyses of training at 3 large regional police academies in the United States. We objectively examined the performance and learning of 3 classes, a total of 115 cadets, across 3 representative training approaches to defensive and control tactics. Experiment 1 examined the content and effects of single-session or block training across 8 weeks during the academy. Experiment 2 examined the content and effects of spaced sessions with small-group practice and scenario-based feedback across 8 weeks during the academy. Experiment 3 examined the content and effect of block training with scenario-based feedback across 15 weeks during the academy. Experiment 3 also demonstrated the impact of performance feedback on instructor behavior and cadet performance during the academy and 16 weeks after graduation. We provide recommendations and a call for research based on the performance and learning literature, grounded in behavioral science.