Police Academy Training, Performance, and Learning
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.
KeywordsLaw enforcement Learning Performance Police Training
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.
Compliance with Ethical Standards
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.
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 was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.
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