An analysis of online law enforcement decision-making training and human performance research practices with law enforcement interactive video-based simulators

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Scott, Dakota
Suss, Joel
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This dissertation was based on a larger research effort—comprising a pretest, training intervention, and a posttest—with the main goal of testing a training intervention (i.e., cognitive-skills-training program) designed to develop adaptive expertise in law enforcement. This dissertation focused on several key aspects of the larger research effort—split into three studies. The first study was a scoping review that investigated the challenges and decisions researchers face when using an interactive video-based simulator (e.g., scenario selection, ratio of shoot/don’t-shoot scenarios). Forty-one articles met the inclusion criteria. Researchers often did not report their use of branching scenarios and scenario selection methods, potentially affecting research validity and generalizability, while many studies emphasized shoot scenarios over don’t-shoot scenarios, which may have unintentionally primed officers towards unrealistic use of deadly force. The second study assessed how firearm positioning during spontaneous-style attacks with an interactive video-based simulator—based on data from the pretest phase—impacted officers’ response time and accuracy. Through video analysis, the position of firearm immediately prior to the attack was coded. Officers who had their firearm in a drawn position have the potential to increase their survivability compared to officers who did not have their hand on their holstered firearm. However, there were no differences in accuracy based on firearm position. The third study compared two styles of cognitive-skills-training (i.e., cognitive vs. tactical) through analysis of officers’ responses to common questions, including their thoughts, attention management, perceptions of force, decision-making process, and main takeaways from a series of police–citizen encounters. The asynchronous delivery and the contents of the training intervention did result in successful and complementary mental model development for both training groups.

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Thesis (Ph.D.)-- Wichita State University, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, Dept. of Psychology
Wichita State University
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