Assessing between-officer variability in responses to a live-acted deadly force encounter as a window to the effectiveness of training and experience

Robert R. Horn, William J. Lewinski, Gustavo Sandri Heidner, Joshua Lawton, Craig Allen, Michael W. Albin, Nicholas P. Murray

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

We aimed to infer the effectiveness of officers’ training and experience by assessing consistency of behavioural responses between them. If officers facing the same scenario respond in similar ways, this implies their use of shared cognition, through acquired in-common tactical knowledge. Officers (n = 42) responded to a live-acted scenario in which an assailant ultimately discharged his weapon. Triangulated camera positions assessed their movement patterns, final positions, and weapon responses relative to when the assailant fired his weapon. We also assessed the officers’ visual search and gathered information regarding their experience and rest. Our second aim was to examine sources of variability in the officers’ responses. We found extensive variability in all aspects of the response. Experience did not impact spatial or temporal behavioural responses. However, longer hours awake and lower reported rest negatively impacted officers’ responses. We conclude that officers had insufficient training and experience to demonstrate in-common knowledge. Practitioner summary: Police officers showed high spatial and temporal variability in response to the same scenario. This implies inadequate tactical training, and is supported by our finding that training and experience did not impact performance. Instead, the officers’ variability was constrained by their visual search, and the hours awake before being tested.

Original languageEnglish
JournalErgonomics
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - 2023

Keywords

  • Police training
  • shared cognition
  • tactical knowledge
  • use of force
  • variability

Fingerprint

Dive into the research topics of 'Assessing between-officer variability in responses to a live-acted deadly force encounter as a window to the effectiveness of training and experience'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this