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Stress

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New Study: Stress, Training, and the Objective Reasonableness Standard

It is well-settled that a police officer’s use of force must be reasonable.  It is equally well-established that reasonableness is to be judged from the perspective of the officer on the scene.  This “on scene” perspective properly requires agencies and courts to consider the influences that emotional arousal and stressors, like time compression, may have...
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Critical Incident Interviews: Is the 48-Hour Delay Still Good Advice?

Following a high-intensity event, should officers be allowed to recover before being interviewed? In 2014, Dr. Bill Lewinski, executive director of the Force Science Institute, sat down with Force Science News1 to explain why he recommends a 48-hour minimum recovery period: “This is the general conclusion from some 20 years of scientific research on sleep...
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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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New Study: Prison Workers Have PTSD Symptoms At War-Zone Level

Prison employees have a rate of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder roughly equivalent to war veterans who’ve served tours in Iraq and Afghanistan, according to newly reported findings from a study in Washington State. Nearly one-fifth (19%) of prison workers surveyed “reported symptoms that were severe enough to be diagnosed as PTSD”—a rate six times higher than...
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New Books Offer Guidance On Career Survival, Deadly Force

Two more new books that hit our desk recently focus on survival, but against life threats of a very different nature. One offers strategies for prevailing against the “hidden” dangers of a law enforcement career, the “true killers” of cops. The other concerns using deadly force to win out against a violent attacker. Read…learn…live! 1....
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A Scientist Looks At A Dangerous Police Enemy: Violent Rage

Another new behavioral science book with practical application in police work is Why We Snap: Understanding the Rage Circuit in Your Brain. In its highly readable and intriguing 400 pages, Dr. R. Douglas Fields, an internationally recognized neurobiologist and brain authority, explores the evolutionary and contemporary triggers behind domestic disputes, barroom brawls, mob violence, road...
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Sudden Cardiac Death: Mysteries Persist Despite New Study

Results of a new study of sudden cardiac death suggest that some of the mysteries surrounding arrest-related fatalities are likely to remain unanswered for the foreseeable future and perhaps should simply be accepted as falling among unfortunate medical occurrences that often have no ready explanations. “Cases of SCD [sudden cardiac death] associated with altercation and...
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New FSI Study: Memory Is Worst About Most Critical Moment Of An OIS

A profound irony is revealed in a major new study of human performance under stress, sponsored by the Force Science Institute. Namely: At the most critical moment in a force encounter–the moment that perhaps is most important for an officer to describe accurately–the officer’s memory of certain key details about what happened is likely to...
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Stressors Besides The Police Often Involved In Sudden Cardiac Death

To learn more about a subject of growing concern to law enforcement, researchers in England and Greece pored through 2,400 cases of sudden, unexpected cardiac death (SDC) and identified 110 that occurred either during or within 30 minutes after stressful events, not all of them related to contact with police. “An event was considered stressful...
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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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