Skip to main content

Police Academy Training, Performance, and Learning

A Correction to this article was published on 24 January 2019

This article has been updated

Abstract

We conducted empirical analyses of training at 3 large regional police academies in the United States. We objectively examined the performance and learning of 3 classes, a total of 115 cadets, across 3 representative training approaches to defensive and control tactics. Experiment 1 examined the content and effects of single-session or block training across 8 weeks during the academy. Experiment 2 examined the content and effects of spaced sessions with small-group practice and scenario-based feedback across 8 weeks during the academy. Experiment 3 examined the content and effect of block training with scenario-based feedback across 15 weeks during the academy. Experiment 3 also demonstrated the impact of performance feedback on instructor behavior and cadet performance during the academy and 16 weeks after graduation. We provide recommendations and a call for research based on the performance and learning literature, grounded in behavioral science.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.

Fig. 1
Fig. 2
Fig. 3

Change history

  • 24 January 2019

    The original version of this article was corrected to use the correct version of Fig. 2.

References

Download references

Acknowledgements

The authors thank the police academy cadets, instructors, and administration for their participation in research and dedication to their profession. The authors also thank Emily J. Novak for her contributions in data collection and inter-observer agreement.

Author information

Authors and Affiliations

Authors

Corresponding author

Correspondence to John O’Neill.

Ethics declarations

Conflict of Interest

John O’Neill declares that he has no conflict of interest. Dawn A. O’Neill declares that she has no conflict of interest. Katelyn Weed declares that she has no conflict of interest. Mark E. Hartman declares that he has no conflict of interest. William R. Spence declares that he has no conflict of interest. William J. Lewinski declares that he has no conflict of interest.

Ethical Approval

All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.

Informed Consent

Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.

Additional information

Publisher’s Note

Springer Nature remains neutral with regard to jurisdictional claims in published maps and institutional affiliations.

The original version of this article was corrected to use the correct version of Figure 2.

Appendices

Appendix 1

Task analyses for skills in Experiment 1 are shown in Tables 4 (pressure point), 5 (disarming), and 6 (kick).

Table 4 Mandibular angle pressure point steps and substeps
Table 5 Rear disarming of firearm steps and substeps
Table 6 Front snap kick steps and substeps

Appendix 2

Task analyses for skills in Experiment 2 are shown in Tables 7 (handcuffing) and 8 (kick).

Table 7 Rear-approach kneeling handcuff steps and substeps
Table 8 Front snap kick steps and substeps

Appendix 3

Task analyses for skills in Experiment 3 are shown in Tables 9 (disarming), 10 (baton strike), and 11 (pressure point).

Table 9 Rear disarming steps and substeps
Table 10 Common peroneal baton strike steps and substeps
Table 11 Infraorbital pressure point steps and substeps
Table 1 Distribution of time and repetitions dedicated to each component of training for mandibular angle pressure point and rear disarming of firearm (Experiment 1)
Table 2 Distribution of time and repetitions (average across groups) dedicated to each component of training for rear-approach kneeling handcuff (Experiment 2)
Table 3 Distribution of time and repetitions dedicated to each component of training for common peroneal baton strike and rear disarming of firearm during initial and performance feedback (PF) trainings (Experiment 3)

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

O’Neill, J., O’Neill, D.A., Weed, K. et al. Police Academy Training, Performance, and Learning. Behav Analysis Practice 12, 353–372 (2019). https://doi.org/10.1007/s40617-018-00317-2

Download citation

  • Published:

  • Issue Date:

  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s40617-018-00317-2

Keywords

  • Law enforcement
  • Learning
  • Performance
  • Police
  • Training