Course Rationale and Overview
Public and officer safety and the integrity of policing in our society is dependent upon ‘rightful policing’ practices. These practices depend strongly upon the ability of police officers to demonstrate exceptional judgment and the appropriate and professional application of force if and when necessary. Police officers are required to assess situations and make decisions on how to respond in the most risk-effective manner. Often, these decisions must be made in extremely short periods of time; frequently, fractions of a second. Under these conditions, typically accompanied by heightened degrees of stress arousal, how humans observe unfolding events, make sense of them, select a motor response and ultimately respond, involve very complex processes. Crisis decision-making involves vastly different neurological processes than decision-making in times of low emotional intensity.
How individual officers respond during rapidly unfolding, time-compressed violent encounters, is heavily underpinned by how those officers are trained. Therefore, law enforcement firearms and use of force instructors have an immense responsibility. As we discover more about human performance and decision making in complex, high-consequence, rapidly unfolding events, there is an absolute nexus between the quality of an officer’s decision-making and survivability and the manner in which the officer was trained. Since we do not “rise to the occasion” in the midst of a crisis but default to the level of our training, the law enforcement trainer literally holds officer’s lives in their hands.
There is such a thing as bad training. Bad training would be categorized as training that is not built upon defendable foundations of the research and science of neurology, cognition and motor learning principles. Training is both art and science. The responsible law enforcement Trainer’s focus and efforts must therefore build training programs that reflect comprehension of the current research regarding correct skill selection, training design and delivery for optimal learning and retention of critical police skills.
Traditionally, in many LE academies and agencies, training models are often based more upon history and tradition (the way ‘we have always done it’), or upon the deeply held personal opinions of the trainers themselves. Frequently, these training models are not based upon an empirical research-based and scientific understanding of human learning and instructional principles, biomechanics and decision making. Current research has demonstrated that despite the millions of dollars that police agencies and academies spend on police training every year, almost none of this training has been validated and very little of it is retained by the officer or transferred to the operational environment where it is most needed. In fact, even basic motor skills have been shown to deteriorate post-academy training to non-functional within six weeks of the officer leaving the academy.
The Methods of Instruction – Advanced Training For Practical And Professional Law Enforcement Skills course fills a critical vacuum that has existed in law enforcement training for decades. During this intensive course, students will be deeply challenged by the exploration of paradigm-breaking, scientific principles which they will be able to apply immediately and directly to their setting in the Academy or Agency’s training programs.
Through the use of pre-course directed study, in-class instruction, facilitated group work and analysis, case studies and practical application, you will learn about effective training methods and procedures that are well established in the scientific literature and how they might be incorporated into existing academy and/or agency in-service training programs.
This student-centric course utilizes an adult learning, problem-based approach. The course consists of a minimum of 20 hours of pre-class reading / viewing and assignments and 40-hours of in-class instruction. It should be understood that successful completion of this course requires the student to be able to demonstrate comprehensive understanding of the material and its application in a variety of contexts. The evaluation of this comprehension will be conducted by the course facilitator through intensive student commitment involving pre-course study, evening study during the course, individual and group participation, class presentations and both oral and written evaluations.
At the end of this course, the successful student will have a fulsome understanding of how to identify critical training needs, and build and instruct a defendable, scientific-based training program to address the critical skills required. In addition, the course of instruction will include the development of realistic, verifiable and defendable course training standards (CTS) which will guide future instruction, protect the agency and the trainer.
The course is immensely challenging. It requires a willingness of the student to leave behind strongly held biases and traditionalism and embrace a growth mindset. The fruit this approach will bear is going to be worth the effort – for both you and more importantly for the law enforcement officers whose lives you hold in your hand.
— Chris Butler