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Decision-Making

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U.S. Marshals Become Leader in Modern Police Training

In April of 2022, Dr. Bill Lewinski, executive director at Force Science, was invited to Mesa, Arizona, to evaluate the U.S. Marshals’ latest High-Risk Fugitive Apprehension – Human Performance training. Dr. Lewinski was not disappointed, “The Marshals’ training was exceptional. They’re not only building excellent tactical officers, they are using the latest evidence-based learning strategies...
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New Research on Vision and Emotional Regulation for Effective Performance

Recent developments in cognitive, perceptual, and performance psychology may provide insights into how officers can improve decision-making, performance, and emotional effectiveness during critical incidents. In 2010 Force Science presented its findings from eye scan research conducted with Dr. Joan Vickers.1 In our research, we observed that, when compared to novice shooters, the experts perceived critical...
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Unintended: A Theory of Taser / Weapon Confusion

Editor’s Note: Studying performance errors in policing can be difficult for researchers who cannot ethically replicate the dangerous conditions present in lethal force encounters. To overcome this limitation, researchers routinely consider evidence derived from other professions and industries (e.g., aerospace (Airbus), aeronautics (NASA), pharmaceutical, occupational safety and health, medical, industrial engineering, and transportation). Recent events...
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Dr. Lewinski: On Creating Expert Decision-makers

Dr. Bill Lewinski, executive director of the Force Science Institute, sees clearly the “clinical” nature of law enforcement and the need for excellent decision-making: “The police world is just like other clinical professions. Officers must engage in educated assessments, decisions, and interventions.” Dr. Lewinski explained: “Before the police act, before any intervention, there is a...
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New Book: Deadly Force Encounters, Second Edition: Cops & Citizens Defending Themselves and Others

With their latest book, Deadly Force Encounters, Second Edition, Dr. Alexis Artwohl and Loren W. Christensen present the much-anticipated update to their groundbreaking 1997 publication. Still focused on preparing cops “to mentally and physically prepare for and survive a gunfight,” the authors’ second edition is thoughtfully expanded to include civilians who may suddenly find themselves...
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New Study Tracks Officers’ Response to Stress During Calls for Service

It is widely understood that the body can automatically prepare us to respond to threats.  Not just actual threats, but those that are perceived or merely expected.  Ideally, when this process is engaged, the nervous system is activated and we benefit from heightened senses, faster decision-making, improved mental function, and increased strength. But when this...
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Racial Bias in Law Enforcement

Racial Bias in Law Enforcement – Fact or Fiction?

In her timely two and a half hour presentation, Dr. Lois James, one of the nation’s leading law enforcement researchers, shares what science has to say about the contentious subject of racial bias among police. Among the pressing questions she will approach are: Are law enforcement officers influenced by racial bias but don’t know it?...
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Why So Many Shots In An OIS? A FS Advanced Specialist Explains

Trained by Hollywood to expect that a single round is enough to fatally wound a threatening suspect, noncops may question OISs in which multiple shots were fired. Why did officers fire so many rounds? Why was the suspect shot after already falling to the ground? Why did some bullets hit him in the back? For...
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New Study: Sleep Loss Impairs Critical Police-Type Decision-Making

In “fast-paced situations with uncertain outcomes and imperfect information,” good decision-making is “significantly hampered” by sleep deprivation, according to a new study by researchers from Washington State University and the University of Melbourne, Australia. Police officers, soldiers, disaster management personnel, and other emergency responders whose lives–and the lives of others–may depend on their ability to...
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Can Cops Really Avoid “Extra” Shots? A Realistic Research Review

A flashpoint of controversy in some officer-involved shootings is when officers do not immediately cease fire the moment a deadly threat ends and they are no longer in mortal danger. An officer’s ability to instantly stop pulling the trigger once a “stop shooting” signal becomes evident is not always considered. Instead, the officer behind the...
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