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Article
Publication date: 21 September 2021

David R. White, Joseph Schafer and Michael Kyle

The purpose of this study is to explore the impacts coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) had on US police academies’ production of police recruits.

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this study is to explore the impacts coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) had on US police academies’ production of police recruits.

Design/methodology/approach

The study used a national online survey of police academy directors in the USA, followed by purposive, semi-structured interviews of select academy directors. A combination of quantitative and qualitative data is combined in a mixed methods approach.

Findings

The findings suggest that academies experienced a range of impacts related to COVID-19. These impacts lead to more questions concerning how academies and state-level governing boards responded not only to pandemic-related challenges, but also to their willingness to accept more online and alternative curriculum delivery strategies.

Originality/value

Police academies are a required step in the production of new police recruits in the USA, but researchers have paid little attention to how academies operate. While exploratory, this study provides some insights into how this aspect of policing weathered the COVID-19 pandemic, and offers suggestions for future research, as well as policy implications.

Details

Policing: An International Journal, vol. ahead-of-print no. ahead-of-print
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1363-951X

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Article
Publication date: 5 July 2021

Gregory Drake

Officer wellness has become a popular area of focus in recent years. This purpose of this research is to examine the impact of a police training program, Blue Courage, on…

Abstract

Purpose

Officer wellness has become a popular area of focus in recent years. This purpose of this research is to examine the impact of a police training program, Blue Courage, on officer (n = 174) attitudes toward mental and emotional wellness.

Design/methodology/approach

Borrowing from the field of medicine, a data linkage approach is employed to match pre- and post-test surveys from officers who completed the training. This research uses a single-group pre-test post-test design to estimate the impact of the training, and a lagged dependent variable (LDV) ordinary least squares (OLS) model to compare the impact of the training across different types of officers.

Findings

Participants who completed the training had more positive attitudes toward mental and emotional wellness at post-test. Officers of higher rank and officers who worked in non-urban departments saw larger changes in attitudes toward wellness. Cynical officers, identified in the literature as withdrawing from training and failing to participate, saw comparable change in attitudes to less cynical officers.

Originality/value

Despite a relative inability of wellness training to work with police officers historically, this research suggests that certain approaches employed by Blue Courage, specifically by targeting officer cynicism, may improve officer engagement in training and improve training results.

Details

Policing: An International Journal, vol. 44 no. 6
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1363-951X

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Article
Publication date: 1 December 2020

Swen Koerner, Mario S. Staller and André Kecke

The study compares the impact of two different pedagogical approaches in police training by assessing the knife defense performance of German police recruits against…

Abstract

Purpose

The study compares the impact of two different pedagogical approaches in police training by assessing the knife defense performance of German police recruits against different types of knife attacks. Linear or nonlinear – which pedagogical approach leads to more efficient knife defense performance?

Design/methodology/approach

A total of 20 German state police recruits (w = 5, m = 15) were assigned to linear and nonlinear groups. The linear and nonlinear groups' performance on knife defense was assessed in a pretest, after a three-week training intervention in a posttest and eight weeks thereafter in a retention test, utilizing a mixed-method design (Sendall et al., 2018).

Findings

Quantitative data on knife defense performance suggest a lastingly better performance of the nonlinear group: in the retention test, participants of the nonlinear group were hit less (p = 0.029), solved the attack faster (p = 0.044) and more often (81.8%) than participants of the linear group (55.6%). In contrast, qualitative data reveal that, despite of evidence for a high level of perceived competence, the nonlinear teaching of knife defense skills has been accompanied by considerable uncertainties, affected by the lack of techniques and the focus on principles and operational parameters only.

Originality/value

It is the first study assessing the impact of different pedagogical approaches in police training. For the practice of police trainers, the results provide empirical orientations for an evidence-based planning of and reflection on pedagogical demands within their training (Mitchell and Lewis, 2017).

Details

Policing: An International Journal, vol. 44 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1363-951X

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Article
Publication date: 1 December 2020

Alexis Rain Rockwell, Stephen A. Bishopp and Erin A. Orrick

The current study examines the effect of changing a specific use-of-force policy coupled with de-escalation training implementation on patterns of police use of force.

Abstract

Purpose

The current study examines the effect of changing a specific use-of-force policy coupled with de-escalation training implementation on patterns of police use of force.

Design/methodology/approach

An interrupted time-series analysis was used to examine changes in police use-of-force incident records gathered from a large, southwestern US metropolitan police department from 2013 to 2017 based on a TASER policy change and de-escalation training implementation mid-2015.

Findings

Results demonstrate that changes to use-of-force policy regarding one type of force (i.e. use of TASERs) coinciding with de-escalation training influence the prevalence of use-of-force incidents by increasing the reported police use-of-force incidents after the changes were implemented. This finding is somewhat consistent with prior literature but not always in the desired direction.

Practical implications

When police departments make adjustments to use-of-force policies and/or trainings, unintended consequences may occur. Police administrators should measure policy and training outcomes under an evidence-based policing paradigm prior to making those adjustments.

Originality/value

This study is the first to measure the effects of changing use-of-force policy and implementing de-escalation techniques in training on patterns of police use of force and shows that these changes can have a ripple effect across types of force used by police officers.

Details

Policing: An International Journal, vol. 44 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1363-951X

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Article
Publication date: 22 January 2021

Jacqueline M. Drew, Emily Moir and Michael Newman

Financial crime continues to represent a crime type that costs billions of dollars per year. It is likely more widespread than any other criminal offence. Despite this, it…

Abstract

Purpose

Financial crime continues to represent a crime type that costs billions of dollars per year. It is likely more widespread than any other criminal offence. Despite this, it remains an area that is often ignored, or at best neglected by police. Police agencies typically fail to invest resources and training in upskilling police in financial crime investigation. The current study evaluates an agency-wide training initiative undertaken by the Queensland Police Service (QPS), Australia.

Design/methodology/approach

The QPS mandated completion of an in-house online financial crime training program for all officers, up to and including the rank of senior sergeant. Matched pre- and post-training data of 1,403 officers were obtained.

Findings

The research found that police are under-trained in financial crime. The findings suggest that short online training programs can produce important improvements in knowledge and confidence in financial crime investigation. Critically, attitudes about this crime type which may be deterring officers from engaging in financial crime investigation can be improved.

Originality/value

The current research finds that police agencies need to more heavily invest in training officers to investigate financial crime and such investment will have positive outcomes. The first step involves improving knowledge, skills and attitudes towards this crime type. Further research is needed to understand why training, particularly related to attitudinal change, is more effective for different cohorts of police and how future training programs should be adapted to maximise success.

Details

Policing: An International Journal, vol. 44 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1363-951X

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Article
Publication date: 30 December 2020

Richard H. Donohue and Nathan E. Kruis

The purpose of this paper is to determine if a police academy using adult learning techniques instills higher levels of perceived competence in recruits than an academy…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to determine if a police academy using adult learning techniques instills higher levels of perceived competence in recruits than an academy using traditional pedagogical methods.

Design/methodology/approach

The study took advantage of a timeframe when two academy models using different approaches to learning were employed in Massachusetts. Recruits (N = 97) were surveyed before entering the academy and just prior to graduation to assess their levels of perceived competence across three domains of training topics (i.e. “Policing in Massachusetts,” “Investigations” and “Patrol Procedures”).

Findings

Results were mixed in terms of the academy model's effects on recruit competence levels. In terms of investigations, participants experienced a greater level of growth in an adult-learning setting. Regarding general topics grouped into the “Policing in Massachusetts” category, such as constitutional law, recruits taught with traditional pedagogy experienced more growth. For patrol procedures, taught using similar hands-on methods, results showed comparable levels of growth for all recruits over time. Overall, recruits in both the traditional and adult-learning-based academy experienced similar growth trajectories in self-perceived levels of competence. Findings suggest that a mixed approach to training may provide optimal results for police recruits.

Originality/value

Prior research on academy curricula has been limited to cross-sectional analyses. Further, little effort has been made to analyze the impacts of academy training from an andrological and/or “adult learning” theoretical lens. This study evaluated the effects of a new, overhauled recruit academy curriculum over time to expand the literature in both of these areas.

Details

Policing: An International Journal, vol. 44 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1363-951X

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Article
Publication date: 3 February 2021

Michael D. White, Victor J. Mora, Carlena Orosco and E. C. Hedberg

De-escalation training for police has received widespread attention as a method for reducing unnecessary and excessive use of force. There is virtually no research on…

Abstract

Purpose

De-escalation training for police has received widespread attention as a method for reducing unnecessary and excessive use of force. There is virtually no research on de-escalation, and as a result, there is little understanding about what it is, what it includes and whether it is effective. The current study compares attitudes about the importance and use of de-escalation among officers who were randomly assigned to participate (or not) in de-escalation training.

Design/methodology/approach

The current study draws from a larger randomized controlled trial of de-escalation training in the Tempe, Arizona Police Department (TPD). Approximately 100 officers completed a survey in June–July 2019 and again in June–July 2020. TPD delivered the de-escalation training to half the patrol force in February–March 2020. The authors compare treatment and control officers' attitudes about the importance of specific de-escalation tactics, how often they use those tactics and their sentiments de-escalation training. The authors employ an econometric random-effects model to examine between-group differences post-training while controlling for relevant officer attributes including age, race, sex, prior training and squad-level pretraining attitudes about de-escalation.

Findings

Treatment and control officers reported positive perceptions of de-escalation tactics, frequent use of those tactics and favorable attitudes toward de-escalation before and after the training. After receiving the training, treatment officers placed greater importance on compromise, and reported more frequent use of several important tactics including compromise, knowing when to walk away and maintaining officer safety.

Originality/value

Only a few prior studies have has examined whether de-escalation training changes officer attitudes. The results from the current study represent an initial piece of evidence suggesting de-escalation training may lead to greater use of those tactics by officers during encounters with citizens.

Details

Policing: An International Journal, vol. 44 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1363-951X

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Article
Publication date: 13 November 2020

Craig Bennell, Brittany Blaskovits, Bryce Jenkins, Tori Semple, Ariane-Jade Khanizadeh, Andrew Steven Brown and Natalie Jennifer Jones

A narrative review of existing research literature was conducted to identify practices that are likely to improve the quality of de-escalation and use-of-force training

Abstract

Purpose

A narrative review of existing research literature was conducted to identify practices that are likely to improve the quality of de-escalation and use-of-force training for police officers.

Design/methodology/approach

Previous reviews of de-escalation and use-of-force training literature were examined to identify promising training practices, and more targeted literature searches of various databases were undertaken to learn more about the potential impact of each practice on a trainee's ability to learn, retain, and transfer their training. Semi-structured interviews with five subject matter experts were also conducted to assess the degree to which they believed the identified practices were relevant to de-escalation and use-of-force training, and would enhance the quality of such training.

Findings

Twenty practices emerged from the literature search. Each was deemed relevant and useful by the subject matter experts. These could be mapped on to four elements of training: (1) commitment to training (e.g. securing organizational support for training), (2) development of training (e.g. aligning training formats with learning objectives), (3) implementation of training (e.g. providing effective corrective feedback) and (4) evaluation and ongoing assessment of training (e.g. using multifaceted evaluation tools to monitor and modify training as necessary).

Originality/value

This review of training practices that may be relevant to de-escalation and use-of-force training is the broadest one conducted to date. The review should prompt more organized attempts to quantify the effectiveness of the training practices (e.g. through meta-analyses), and encourage more focused testing in a police training environment to determine their impact.

Details

Policing: An International Journal, vol. 44 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1363-951X

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Article
Publication date: 25 June 2020

Xinting Wang, Jia Qu and Jihong Zhao

The purpose of this study is to examine the effect and duration of supervised field training on police cadets' worldview of police work in China.

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this study is to examine the effect and duration of supervised field training on police cadets' worldview of police work in China.

Design/methodology/approach

The four-wave longitudinal data were collected from graduate students who were pursuing their master's degree in a national Chinese police university from 2016 to 2018. Independent variables including demographic characteristics and knowledge along with experience gained from the internship were used to explain police cadets' attitudes toward police work. Ordinary least square (OLS) regression models were used in the current study.

Findings

Findings derived from multiple regression analyses suggest that police cadets' attitudes toward police work are conducive to the “shock” of the real-world experience after three-month field training. However, the effect of the field training on police cadets' attitudes toward police work is temporary, not enduring.

Research limitations/implications

The data for this study were collected from one national police university, and the findings reported here may not be generalized.

Practical implications

Police field training is important for cadets to develop positive view of police work. It provides practical knowledge for police training and socializes cadets before entering into the law enforcement filed, avoiding the financial cost of resignation. However, the influence of field training is temporal. Hence, it is more appropriate for police administrators to arrange police cadets' field training close to their graduation date, the third year of their college education.

Originality/value

This study can be considered as an extension of relevant research on law-enforcement-related field training reported in the United States. However, it goes beyond the existing literature by using longitudinal data to answer a long-overdue question: Does supervised field training change the worldview of cadets concerning police work?

Details

Policing: An International Journal, vol. 43 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1363-951X

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Article
Publication date: 1 March 2000

Michael J. Palmiotto, Michael L. Birzer and N. Prabha Unnithan

The widespread acceptance of community policing necessitates the need for training of recruits into its philosophy and practices. We provide a suggested curriculum for…

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Abstract

The widespread acceptance of community policing necessitates the need for training of recruits into its philosophy and practices. We provide a suggested curriculum for such training after describing its three basic premises. This is followed by discussions of the rationale for the curriculum, and a promising training method that can be used in its implementation. All of the above are summarized in our conclusion.

Details

Policing: An International Journal of Police Strategies & Management, vol. 23 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1363-951X

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