Sign Up Now for ‘High in Plain Sight’ Training

YOU CAN’T STOP WHAT YOU DON’T KNOW.

TALL COP JERMAINE GALLOWAY PROVIDES THE TOOLS, RESOURCES AND TRAINING TO COMBAT SUBSTANCE ABUSE.

Tall Cop Says Stop™ was created by Officer Jermaine Galloway, an Idaho law enforcement officer since 1997. Regarded as one of America’s top experts in various drug and alcohol trends, he has specialized in underage drinking and drug enforcement for more than 15 years.

Since 2009, Officer Galloway has won four national awards and one international award for his work. In addition to his numerous talks at conferences and other events, he has personally trained more than 105,000 people nationwide.

Officer Galloway’s many years of experience have taught him one thing above all else. In his words, “You can’t stop what you don’t know™.”

Perry County will be hosting the training in October.

The training is for law enforcement, probation officers, school administration, treatment providers, and counselors. This session is unique, in that it provides over 120 visual aids for attendees to hold and become familiar with. In today’s culture, everything is person-specific and has different meanings to different individuals. For each person to help prevent youth and adult substance abuse, you MUST know what is going on in your community. These new trends are very popular and it is important for all who are involved in prevention, education, treatment, or enforcement to understand these sweeping changes in the drug culture.

TOPICS COVERED IN THE TRAINING

This training covers alcohol and drug clothing, alcoholic energy drinks, alcopops, alcohol and drug concealment methods and containers, drug paraphernalia, drug related music and groups, logos, stickers, new technology, youth party tendencies, party games, non-traditional alcoholic beverages, social networking sites, synthetic drugs, OTC drugs, inhalants, concentrates, E-cigarettes, and popular party drugs.

 

Instructor/Trainer: Officer Jermaine Galloway “Tall Cop Says Stop”

Class Cost: $25.00 per person

Registration Required – Class Limited to 150 Attendees

Class Date / Times

9:00 am- 3:00 pm

Tuesday, October 12, 2021 

Location: Robinson Event Center Address: 2411 Walters Lane, Perryville, MO 63775

For more information on the program, visit www.tallcopsaysstop.com

For more information, contact Deputy Auston Turner at  aturner@perrycountymo.us

Applying Science to the Art of Detection Canines: Surface Area and Concealment of Targets

By Battelle Staff Members: K. Good, N. Knebel, S. Lawhon, L. Siers, D. Winkel for Working Dog Magazine workingdogmagazine.com


When establishing training scenarios, it is common to vary the amount (i.e., mass) of target used. One session may involve several ounces of the target material, while the next session involves several pounds. Although this is good practice, it has resulted in narrowed thinking: Many canine trainers and handlers think solely about target mass when attempting to vary odor intensity. In reality, surface area and concealment of the target are much more important factors.

During olfaction, canines are detecting the gaseous molecules and/or microscopic particles that are released from the surface of the target. If environmental factors (e.g., room temperature) are held constant, the larger the surface area of a given substance, the greater the number of molecules/particles being released. Consider, for example, a drinking glass filled with water. Evaporation occurs only from the surface of water exposed to air. When sitting on your kitchen counter, that glass of water will take weeks to evaporate. If that same glass is spilled onto your kitchen floor, however, the surface area of the resulting puddle is many times that of the water in the glass. As a result, that same amount of water evaporates overnight. In the context of explosives detection work, one pound of black powder in an open bottle has significantly less odor than that same mass of powder distributed across several scent bags.

Furthermore, for detection to occur, those molecules or particles released from the surface of the target need to be physically transported to an area the dog will sniff. The distance and degree of obstruction of the path to the dog’s nose will have a marked impact on odor intensity. As these factors increase (e.g., deeper hides and/or forms of additional containment), odor intensity is reduced. This reduction occurs because the molecules/particles are diluted by the (larger) encompassing volume of air, and some are even “lost” due to chemical or physical interactions with surrounding surfaces.

Understanding the role of surface area and concealment is valuable, as it allows handlers and trainers to better manipulate standard targets and common training exercises to expose their canines to a greater range of target odor intensities, ultimately better preparing the team for the infinite number of scenarios they may encounter operationally.

Read the full content on https://issuu.com/workingdogmagazine/docs/scent_detection

New Study: Grip Strength and Shooting Performance

Researchers recommend agencies examine the adoption of pistols with lower trigger pull weights to mitigate grip strength-related shooting issues. Missouri Department of Conservation Photo.

 

By Lewis “Von” Kliem, MCJ, JD, LLM Originally published on the Force Science Institute websiteRepublished in Police1 with permission.

A new study led by Ph.D. student Andrew Brown [1] examined the effects of grip strength and gender on shooting performance. [2]

Brown and fellow researchers sought to verify independent studies showing that grip strength was directly related to a person’s ability to manage aim, recoil and trigger pull. These skills are widely recognized as some of the key components of superior shooting performance.

This latest study was designed to replicate previous research relative to grip strength and to identify what range of strength might be required to achieve shooting test standards. The resulting data was used to examine the relationship between grip strength, gender and shooting scores.

SHAKING HANDS

According to the researchers, a standard-issue 9 mm pistol might have between 4lbs-6lbs of trigger pull weight. A double-action-only pistol might be closer to 9lbs-12lbs. Still, trigger pull weight can depend on the type of gun, the hammer mechanism (e.g., single-action vs. double action), and whether mechanical adjustments have been made. As a rule of thumb, the amount of pressure required to pull a trigger and fire a round (“trigger pull weight”) is roughly equivalent to a firm handshake.

Researchers explained the influence of trigger pull weight: “Trigger pull weight appears to impact shooting performance as triggers that are too heavy [for the individual shooter] seem to activate additional muscles in the hand.” They continued: “If the trigger pull of a firearm exceeds the force of a handshake, isolation of the index finger becomes difficult, causing the hand to engage in the use of additional muscles to complete the task of pulling the trigger. The overcompensation of unnecessary muscles, in turn, negatively affects shooting performance through involuntary hand movements.”

The questions remained, how much strength is needed to avoid these grip-related issues and pass a standard police pistol course, and will an officer’s gender predict negative shooting performance related to grip strength?

THE STUDY

Researchers had 118 active police officers, ranging in age from 22-62, conduct a standardized police pistol qualification using a double-action-only pistol with a trigger pull weight of between 8lbs-12lbs.

Before attempting to qualify, the participants completed a demographic questionnaire to document their age, rank, gender and years of police service. Researchers then measured and recorded the participants’ dominant hand maximum grip strength.

After their grip strength was measured, participants performed the police pistol qualification with stationary targets between 10 and 82 feet. The results of the tests were analyzed and compared to the grip strength measurements and officer demographics.

THE RESULTS

Male officers in this study had, on average, higher qualification scores than the female officers: 21.9 % of the female officers in this study failed the qualification compared to 8.1% of the male officers. Researchers theorized that insufficient grip strength would negatively impact shooting performance, and that female officers would, on average, have lower grip strength than male officers. Both theories were supported by the research results.

First, researchers determined that grip strength in the range of 80lbs and 125lbs was needed to score approximately 85% and 90% on the pistol qualification test. The average grip strength for the female officers in the study was 77.5lbs, while the average for the men was 121.5lbs.

Seventy-eight percent of the females and 92% of the males passed the qualification test (22% and 8% failed respectively). Researchers observed that, for every pound below the average grip strength required to score between 85% and 90%, the odds of an officer failing the pistol qualification increased by 2%.

DISCUSSION

Shooting performance is influenced by a variety of factors, and it appears that grip strength is certainly one of them. Andrew Brown provided the following observations: “In our study, higher rates of failure appeared to be correlated with lower grip strength. Agencies should consider minimum grip requirements based on the issued duty pistol trigger weight. Although grip strength issues might disproportionately impact female officers, strength training may help to mitigate grip-related deficiencies regardless of the officer’s gender.”

A recent article reported that NYPD is moving toward lighter trigger pull weights for their recruits. This move is consistent with Brown’s recommendation that agencies “examine the adoption of pistols with lower trigger pull weights to mitigate grip strength-related shooting issues.”

Dr. Bill Lewinski, executive director of the Force Science Institute, supports Brown’s recommendations and was encouraged by the NYPD’s move to a lighter trigger pull weight: “We often hear that higher trigger pull weights can provide increased decision-making time for officers. The research does not support that position. Even the heavier triggers can have a travel time as quick as 6/100 to 8/100 of a second. If the decision to pull the trigger has already been made, the travel time of the trigger isn’t going to result in sufficient time to change your mind and stop that action.”

MITIGATING UNINTENDED DISCHARGES

Dr. Lewinski addressed another concern that often accompanies lower trigger pull weights: “Agencies are always looking for ways to reduce the number of unintentional discharges, and trigger pull weights should always be a part of that discussion.”

Lewinski cautioned, “Researchers have observed officers unintentionally and non-consciously touch the trigger of their firearm while they were engaged in vigorous physical movements during a simulated high-threat robbery scenario. About 6% of those officers unintentionally applied sufficient pressure to pull a 12 lbs. trigger weight. More importantly, nearly 20% unintentionally applied enough pressure to fire a gun with a 5 lbs. trigger pull weight.” [3]

Dr. Lewinski reiterated what remains the most important consideration for avoiding unintended discharges, “In our research, we saw that around 31% of the unintended discharges involved striker-fired weapons. Of those, well over half of the unintended discharges were the result of intentionally pulling the trigger before clearing the chamber during disassembly [i.e., field stripping the weapon]. To mitigate unintentional trigger pulls and subsequent discharges, including cases that involve muscle co-activation, startle response, or routine weapon handling, keeping the finger outside of the trigger well is a critical safety protocol regardless of the trigger pull weight.”      

REFERENCES

1. Andrew Brown is a Ph.D. student in Psychology at Carleton University, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, He has a B.A. and M.A. in Psychology.

2. Andrew Brown was joined by fellow researchers and Ph.D. candidates Simon Baldwin and Brittany Blaskovits, as well as Dr. Craig Bennell, Ph.D. in Psychology. 

3. See Heim C, Schmidtbleicher D, Niebergall E. (2006a). The risk of involuntary firearms discharge. Human Factors, 48(3), 413-421.

About the author

With nearly 30 years in the criminal justice profession, Lewis “Von” Kliem, MCJ, JD, LLM, worked as a civilian police officer, attorney, educator and author. Von is the executive editor of Force Science News and co-owner of Von Kliem Consulting, LLC, where he trains and consults on constitutional policing, use of force analysis, crisis communications and trauma-informed interviewing.  

 

The Force Science Institute (FSI) is comprised of a team of physicians, lawyers, psychologists, scientists, police trainers and law enforcement subject matter experts dedicated to the advancement of knowledge and training in criminal justice matters.

FSI conducts sophisticated scientific research studies into human behavior documenting the physical and mental dynamics associated with the societal demands of the peace-keeping function, including high-pressure situations and use-of-force incidents. Its findings apply to citizen-involved uses of force, as well as impacting investigations of officer-involved force applications. FSI research when applied to training enhances officer performance and public safety.

To Extend or Not to Extend: Factoring in the Effects of Extended Shifts on Law Enforcement

Agencies must weigh the pros and cons of shift schedules to do what they can to ensure success – for officers, the agency and the community.

Captain Rex M. Scism (Ret) for Police1

For many years, 8-hour shifts were virtually universal in public safety – they divide evenly into 24-hours, accommodating the 24/7 nature of policing, and have been the standard across most professions.

In recent decades, many law enforcement agencies have modified their shift schedules, incorporating – or completely moving to – 10-and-12-hour shifts. Officers often prefer these longer shifts due to the increased time off-duty and greater flexibility they offer. But what are the effects of extended shifts on the agency and on individual officers’ physical and mental health?

Since the introduction of extended shifts into policing, the question has remained: Which shift structure is best? What provides the best coverage for the community and the best work-life balance for officers?

While the answers to these questions are not exactly cut-and-dry, it’s important for each agency to weigh the pros and cons of different shift schedules to do what they can to ensure success – for officers, the agency and, ultimately, the community.

WHY (NOT) EXTENDED SHIFTS?

Law enforcement professionals will have their own opinions when it comes to shift length – but it’s important for agency leaders to look at what the data reveals about 8-hour, 10-hour and 12-hour shifts. Studies over the past several decades have revealed the good, the bad and the differences when it comes to shift lengths.

Various studies have revealed trends in sleep quantity and quality related to shift length, indicating 10-hour shifts provide on average four additional hours of sleep when compared to 8-hour shifts – and that the sleep was of subjectively higher quality. The improvement in sleep for those operating in 10-hour shifts also led to a higher quality of work life. Conversely, those working 12-hour shifts experienced greater sleepiness and diminished alertness, while 8-hour shifts led to more overtime than either extended shift option.

Extended shifts do offer some clear benefits, including greater versatility due to the longer stretches of time individuals/teams are working continuously. Some research has also indicated that extended shifts can lead to reduced costs for officers and agencies, as well as reduced call response time. Finally, if agencies choose to operate under 10-hour shifts, they can overlap officers’ schedules accordingly to offer increased coverage during peak demand periods.

On the flip side, studies have revealed that extended shifts have the potential to reduce unity of command, leading to a breakdown in communication between, and even within, shifts. One of the biggest concerns with the debate on extended shifts is the risk of fatigue. The number of hours per shift and the risk of injury has a direct relationship: As the shift length increases, so does the potential for on-the-job injury.

DECIDING FOR YOUR AGENCY

One important note when deciding on whether to move your agency to (or from) extended shifts: Shift length can dramatically impact employee morale – for better or worse. Officers tend to favor longer shifts because of the greater number of consecutive days off they receive, providing more time for rest, leisure or secondary employment opportunities. While this is surely a critical consideration, it’s important not to implement extended shifts to the detriment of either the agency or the employees’ wellbeing.

While no one solution is perfect for every agency, there is a scenario for your department that finds the appropriate balance between rest cycles, work-life balance, employee morale and operational coverage.

Case Remanded: Handcuff Injury Ruled Excessive Force?

Will the alleged handcuff injury be ruled excessive force? The court of appeals remanded the case to the trial court to find out.

By Ken Wallentine Police1

HUGHEY V. EASLICK, 2021 WL 2641884 (6th Cir. 2021)

Dawn Hughey was speeding because she was late for work, when she sped past an officer who turned on his emergency lights and dashcam and stopped her. Hughey’s car was uninsured and unregistered, and there was an outstanding failure-to-appear arrest warrant for Hughey. The officer gave Hughey the option of paying the $400 cash bail on her warrant or being taken to the courthouse.

Hughey didn’t have the cash; the officer arrested her. He handcuffed Hughey’s hands behind her back and placed her in his car. When Hughey started to talk about suicide, the officer took her to a hospital. Hughey claimed the officer twisted her arm behind her back as he handcuffed her. She also alleged that he did not check the fitment on the handcuffs and that her shoulder hurt, which she claims she told the officer several times during the ride. The officer didn’t recall at which point Hughey complained, but he did note that he “double-checked the tension of the handcuffs.” The handcuffing was out of the range of the dashcam. Hughey also claimed a nurse at the hospital commented on the red marks around her wrists.

Hughey sued the officer, alleging excessive force and deliberate indifference to her claimed injuries. The district court applied qualified immunity and granted summary judgment for the officer. The 6th Circuit reversed. The appellate court had previously held that “allegations of bruising and wrist marks [from handcuffs] create a genuine issue of material fact” that bar the granting of qualified immunity (McGrew v. Duncan, 937 F.3d 664 (6th Cir. 2019)).

The court of appeals, in this case, held that Hughey created a genuine dispute of material fact about whether the officer violated her clearly established constitutional right to be free from excessive force. “Because lingering ring marks are of the same ilk as bruising, swelling, and numbness – each indicative of an overly tight cuff that grates on one’s skin and causes pain – Hughey’s allegations that the handcuffs caused her pain and marked her wrists get her over the genuine-dispute-of-material-fact line.”

The appellate court remanded the case back to the trial court. The threshold for alleging excessive force based on tight handcuffs is very low. When applying handcuffs, follow a consistent routine of double-locking, checking fitment using the index finger/thumb pinch test, and document both steps – every time. When a handcuffed suspect complains, check the handcuffs again, and document it again. That may make the difference in prevailing against a claim of handcuff injury.

 

Preventing Officer Suicides

The SAFLEO program is helping train law enforcement agencies to deal with officer suicides when they occur, and to find ways to prevent them before they happen.

By Paul Peluso for Officer.com

As the number of officer suicides increases with each passing year, law enforcement leaders are searching for way to stop their brothers and sisters in blue from taking their own lives. In 2019, there were 228 recorded officer suicides, while there were 139 line of duty deaths.

The SAFLEO (Suicide Awareness for Law Enforcement Officers) program, which is supported by a grant awarded by the U.S. Department of Justice Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA), aims to provide training, technical assistance and resources to law enforcement agencies, staff and families to raise awareness, erase the stigma and reduce and prevent officer suicides. The program includes a suite of in-person and online training and technical assistance that is provided at no cost.

During a recent discussion hosted by the National Law Enforcement Memorial and Museum and moderated by Program Manager Nick Breul, a retired Washington, D.C. Metropolitan police officer, BJA Acting Director Kristen Mahoney and Brandon Post, a Senior Research Associate with the Institute for Intergovernmental Research who served with the Provo Police Department in Utah for 20 years before his retirement in January, both spoke about the importance of training in suicide prevention and the steps law enforcement agencies can take to prevent officer suicides.

A Stressful Time for LE

Breul opened the discussion by putting the current situation officers find themselves in into perspective. “This is a very timely program given everything that’s happening in law enforcement with the civil unrest, with COVID, with the continual stream of negative imagery and scrutiny that law enforcement is coming under right now,” he says. “So, it’s an incredibly stressful time for law enforcement and unfortunately, sometimes that stress leads to officers taking their own lives; which is what this program is designed to educate, create awareness and hopefully help prevent.”

The BJA created the SAFLEO program with the Institute for Intergovernmental Research and its partners, the National Law Enforcement Memorial and Museum, the American Association of Suicidology and the Major City Chiefs Association. They’ve brought together training, assistance and other resources into one place.

“SAFLEO came into being because we recognize that our nation’s officers have a high degree of exposure to stress and trauma and unfortunately, because of this, officers seem to have a higher prevalence of suicidal ideation,” says Mahoney. “The SAFLEO program’s purpose is to stop that trend and provide meaningful support and resources to our law enforcement officers. We have found that a drastic change needs to happen in how we address officer wellness and suicide.”

Have a plan in place

Losing an officer to suicide can be a devastating event for the department, individual officers—especially those who are close to the officer who is deceased—operations staff and the officer’s family. Post says that losing an officer to suicide is not something agencies typically prepare for. “We recognize that this is a very dangerous profession and that we can lose an officer in the line of duty, and we have policies and procedures in place in case that terrible event ever occurs,” he says. “However, not nearly as many of us have a policy or procedure in place in case we lose an officer to suicide, which is unfortunate because statistically speaking, we are more likely to lose an officer to suicide than we are to lose one to a line of duty death. It’s important to be prepared for this possibility because dealing with the tragic loss of an officer, that’s incredibly difficult, and making necessary decisions in the immediate aftermath of a suicide can be overwhelming.”

Following an officer suicide, there are difficult questions that need to be answered. Are death notifications different for suicides? How does the leader of the agency address the media? Will funeral protocols be different? How is the department going to care for the deceased officer’s family? Should there be a departmental debrief? Post says that one of the most important questions an agency needs to ask after a suicide occurs is: Is there a potential danger of contagion where other officers may die by suicide?

It can be easier to make these critical decisions when not dealing with the emotional storm associated with a suicide and having a protocol in place to respond to law enforcement suicides that can assist in minimizing the added pain toward loved ones, colleagues and the department, Post noted. That goes along the SAFLEO program, which just recently published a postvention suicide guide to help departments prepare for this tragedy, should it ever occur.

“We lose more officers to suicide than assaults and traffic accidents combined every year,” he says. “That fact alone should mandate a call to action on the part of our profession to provide meaningful support and resources.”

Erasing the stigma

Post recently participated in a web event that included a clinical psychologist who has dealt with thousands of officers over the course of his career. He said one commonality he sees is that officers are more worried about people finding out they ask for help than they are about getting well. The same event featured an officer who had been involved in a critical event in which she found herself on the ground fighting with a man twice her size who pulled out a gun. She stayed in the fight and survived but was shot in the face.

“In the aftermath, where she’s healing from some pretty significant physical, emotional and mental injuries, she realizes that she’s struggling with suicidal ideation. The statement she made was that reaching out and asking for help and admitting that she was suicidal—that was more frightening than the critical incident itself,” he says. “We have a definite stigma in this profession against reaching out and asking for help and taking care of ourselves. We’ve got some real work to do to change this because in this profession we are constantly exposed to things that are outside the bounds of normal human experience and it is normal human behavior to be bothered by some of the things we see and experience each day.”

In 2019, the New York City Police Department and the Police Executive Research Forum hosted a meeting on officer suicides. Afterward, PERF released a report entitled ‘An Occupational Risk: What Every Police Agency Should Do to Prevent Suicide Amongst Its Officers’ and they recommended that law enforcement leaders make employees’ mental health care a priority and provide robust officer wellness programming.

Mahoney says that it was the first time she heard so many people come together and talk about officer suicides openly and honestly. “Like that day at the NYPD, we need to constantly have open dialogue and create and encourage a culture within law enforcement where talking about wellness and asking for help is OK, and that’s what we’re doing through SAFLEO.”

Learn more about the SAFELEO program at https://www.valorforblue.org/SAFLEO

Sleep on It: Using Time to Make Better Decisions

Story by Gordon Graham for Lexipol

Gordon Graham here again, continuing with some thoughts on ethical decision-making. Here is a quick recap of the 10-step process I have put together over a period of years to assist you in making decisions on low-frequency events:

  1. Identify and clarify the issue. If it is a preservation-of-life event, act immediately (#8). Short of that, identify what needs to be decided.
  2. Do I have time to think? If so, move on to #3. If not, hopefully you picked this up on your risk assessment and through constant training have learned how to best act in this situation.
  3. Can I handle this event? If so, move to #4. If not, get it to someone who can handle it and follow through to make sure it got done.
  4. What is the policy of our agency re: this event? If policy exists, follow the policy. If there is no policy, refer to the mission statement of your organization and make sure your action is consistent with this statement.
  5. What is our past practice in this type of event? You may not have handled this type of event before, but maybe someone in your organization has. Consistency is critical.
  6. What are the ethical issues involved in this event? We must be concerned not just about doing things right but doing the right thing right.
  7. What are the consequences of my actions? Smart people consider consequences before they occur.
  8. Make and implement your decision. Remember it is not too late to go back to #1 to make sure you are still headed in the right direction.
  9. Document as necessary why you did what you did.
  10. If you learned something new, share it with your peers.

In the last two articles, I focused on step one—identifying “what is going on”—and drilled down just a bit on two issues. First, the primary mission of every person in public safety for that matter is preservation of life. Second, you must be aware of the danger of making up your mind too quickly by letting RPDM (recognition-primed decision-making) get in the way.

Step one is the most important part of the decision-making process. You cannot make the right decision if you are addressing the wrong problem. It is important that you gather all the facts regarding “what is going on and what I am being asked to do.”

There is some value to “sleeping on it.” Just because you are not awake does not mean your brain is not processing information.

Listen to what is being communicated to you. Ask clarifying questions as necessary. Is the information you are receiving from multiple sources (different people, observations you are making through your five—or possibly six—senses) consistent, or is there conflicting information that needs to be considered? While I caution you to not let RPDM get in the way, it is always necessary to rely on your past experiences to identify what needs to be decided. Just be cautious of getting prematurely locked into a line of thinking.

Once you have identified and clarified the issue, the second step of the decision-making process is to ask yourself, “Do I have time to think?” On my recommended reading list are two great books, Blink by Malcolm Gladwell and Think by Dr. Michael LeGault. I know your time is precious, but these are both great reads.

Gladwell is a fascinating speaker and writer. In Blink he talks about your brain’s unique ability to make split-second decisions. LeGault, on the other hand, cautions that critical decisions cannot be made in the blink of the eye. If you have time to think, please use it. Slow down and think.

Your mother or father may have given you the same advice when you were growing up. Perhaps you had a career question, or a question on which school to choose, or which sport to focus on, or what car to buy, and your thoughtful parent said, “Why don’t you sleep on it?” Oddly enough that is not just telling you to slow down and think—there is some value to “sleeping on it.” Just because you are not awake does not mean your brain is not processing information.

I learned this trick decades ago when I was at St. Ignatius High School (now college preparatory) in San Francisco. The Jesuits were big on memorization. Every day there was some memory exercise, usually a classic poem. The trick I learned was to do this memorization right before going to bed. Somehow my brain processed the words as I slept.

Here I am 50 years later and I use this technique even now as I prepare for any public speaking event. Please do not think I just “get up and talk”—no, there is a lot of preparation involved in making a presentation. That process starts months in advance of the presentation. First, we select a topic that fits the request of the event host. My great staff then gathers current information about the profession I will be addressing and checks for recent tragedies in that profession, changes in the law, recent developments in the news and other relevant data.

You must be aware of the danger of making up your mind too quickly by letting RPDM (recognition-primed decision-making) get in the way.

About a month out from any talk, I prepare the handout material and send it off to my editor for the purpose of cleaning it up and making it readable and then my great staff sends it to the event host for their approval and duplication for the attendees. The night prior to the event, the last thing I do before going to sleep is to review a hard copy (actual paper) of the handouts and make notes as to what I want to focus on during the presentation.

When I wake up in the morning, it is very clear in my mind how I will start the program, get people interested, let them know that I know what I am talking about, and hit the salient points I want them to leave with to improve the quality of operations in their particular organization.

Over the decades I have been making presentations, this formula of “sleeping on it” has served me well and I will do it again tomorrow night when I prepare for my talk in Milwaukee and next month when I prepare for my talk in Pennsylvania, and again when I prepare for my talk in Charlotte.

In his great work Thinking Fast and Slow, Daniel Kahneman indirectly talks about “blink vs. think” decision-making. One of my favorite quotes from his lectures relates to this idea of using time—specifically, sleeping—to make better decisions:

Every night for the next week, set aside 10 minutes before you go to sleep. Write down three things that went well today and why they went well…Writing about why the positive events in your life happened may seem awkward at first, but please stick with it for one week. It will get easier. The odds are that you will be less depressed, happier and addicted to this exercise six months from now.

Bottom line: If you have time to think, use it prior to making your decision.

Whoa—I am way, way over my word limit for this writing and do not want to anger Madame Editor. Until next time, please sleep productively!

TIMELY TAKEAWAY—Whenever you have a great idea or a thought you want to ponder, write it down. I have stacks of 3X5 cards lying around the house, in every jacket pocket, in my car, in my briefcase and all over the place, including on my nightstand.
 
About the Writer

Gordon Graham is a 33-year veteran of law enforcement and the co-founder of Lexipol, where he serves on the current board of directors. Graham is a risk management expert and a practicing attorney who has presented a commonsense risk management approach to hundreds of thousands of public safety professionals around the world. Graham holds a master’s degree in Safety and Systems Management from University of Southern California and a Juris Doctorate from Western State University.

All Squared Away: A Blueprint for Success in Policing

We know a “squared away” cop when we see them. They are often recognized as those go-to guys and gals that we like to have on calls. (Getty Images)

By Chief Tom Wetzel for Police1

The current challenges American police officers face must be remedied. Lives are at stake – both the cops and those they serve.

As a strong advocate of community policing, I believe it will take a collective effort between officers and their communities to develop solutions that will help build our service model. But it must be the police themselves who provide the critical leadership and creative ideas for best improving our time-honored profession.

As a police trainer with the Northcoast Polytechnic Institute, I have the privilege of teaching police officers about management and leadership. There I have met some fine and deeply committed public servants who want to make a difference in the communities they serve. They are smart, caring individuals who are willing to risk their lives for strangers and their creative juices are flowing.

This was well evidenced this year when I was teaching a first-line supervision course and I made a reference to “squared away” cops. This is a common term, but it’s hard to define. We know a “squared away” cop when we see them. They are often recognized as those go-to guys and gals that we like to have on calls.

After the class, I had the opportunity to talk with a young sergeant named Randall Neitzel. He had thought long and hard about the “squared away” phrase and had developed a four-square model of what the concept should mean for cops.

The Neitzel “Squared Away” Developmental Concept is both a theoretical and visual training tool that builds off four fundamental blocks: knowledge, accountability, ability and work ethic. A “squared away” cop will have all four working seamlessly:

Neitzel “Squared Away” Developmental Concept
Neitzel “Squared Away” Developmental Concept

The knowledge block addresses education, training, experience and learning from our mistakes; accountability focuses on ethics, our oath of office and doing the right thing when no one is watching; the ability portion involves judgment, decision-making, adapting to change and personal growth; and the work ethic quadrant highlights the desire to go the extra mile and improve on personal shortcoming.

These blocks can be rearranged to fit any coaching or development of an officer's needs. This model helps individuals visually understand what needs to be developed. 
These blocks can be rearranged to fit any coaching or development of an officer’s needs. This model helps individuals visually understand what needs to be developed. 

The beauty of this model is that it gives police supervisors a conceptual tool for coaching officers. It can help guide leaders in their efforts to help officers achieve a “squared away” status.

It also is a useful visual reference for officers who want to develop the best version of themselves but who might need to put extra work into certain quadrants. In short, the Neitzel concept provides a simple, workable blueprint for a successful career in law enforcement.

What Sgt. Neitzel contemplated and then distilled into an actionable tool impressed me. It reinforced my confidence that the American police model is only going to get better because of cops like this young sergeant. We have an entire upcoming group of deep-thinking cops who are going to pave the way for building and improving on our service model. They are going to be the critical leadership that our profession needs right now to produce better, more responsive, and empathetic public servant guardians who will usher in a new era of protecting and serving. It could not have come at a better time.      

Staying Healthy in the Fray: The Impact of Crowd Management on Officers in the Context of Civil Unrest

The last few years have presented unprecedented challenges, both to our communities and to public safety officers and first responders—especially law enforcement. Current events, including COVID 19, political rhetoric and chaos, societal conflict and division, and attacks on the policing institution, individual officers, and officers’ families, have created a challenging environment where stress and trauma increased exponentially.

High stress police operations such as crowd management during periods of civil unrest is mentally and physically demanding. Crowd management often challenges officers to push their bodies beyond normal limits, leading to poor performance, fatigue, insomnia, and injury.

In the summer of 2020, many officers repeatedly worked shifts that, at times, exceeded 12 hours, for 10 to 12 days straight, leaving little time for appropriate nutrition, rest, exercise, recovery, or sleep. Large numbers of arrests, long periods on bicycles, standing or moving in formations, or responding to threats are physically and mentally demanding.

In light of the current environment, the National Police Foundation (NPF) has developed STAYING HEALTHY IN THE FRAY, a brief guide for law enforcement agencies on ways to recognize and protect the physical and mental wellbeing of officers during responses to intense and protracted protests and demonstrations.

Both physical and mental stressors are taking a toll on the women and men who have dedicated their lives to protecting our communities. This guidebook offers educational information and practical considerations for sworn officers of all ranks, particularly frontline officers and mid-level supervisors, as well as their families, to better protect officers’ mental and physical wellbeing during times of heightened stress.

Furthermore, this guidebook can be used as a resource by police leaders in promoting healthy organizational cultures that recognize  and  prioritize officer  safety  and wellness  as an  integral  part of  policing  protests—which ultimately can help foster better outcomes for all involved.

The content in this guidebook has been curated and derived from a review of research from professional medical organizations and has been peer reviewed by licensed mental health clinicians and law enforcement practitioners.

Author:
National Police Foundation

Redesigning Risk and Need Assessment in Corrections

Once someone has been convicted and sentenced for a crime, corrections agencies use risk and need assessment (RNA) tools to identify how likely that person is to commit another crime or violate the rules of prison, jail, or community supervision. Correctional authorities use RNA instruments to guide decisions about programming, support, and restrictions that are intended to enhance public safety and make better use of scarce resources.

Over the past several decades, the use of RNA in correctional systems has proliferated. Indeed, the vast majority of local, state, and federal correctional systems in the United States now use some type of RNA. Despite the numerous ways in which RNA instruments can improve correctional policy and practice, the kind of RNA currently used across much of the country has yet to live up to this promise because it is outdated, inefficient, and less effective than it should be.

In an effort to help the corrections field realize the full potential of RNA instruments, NIJ recently released Guidelines for Post-Sentencing Risk Assessment.[1] These guidelines, assembled by a trio of corrections researchers and practitioners, are built around four fundamental principles for the responsible and ethical use of RNAs: fairness, efficiency, effectiveness, and communication. Each of these principles contributes to an innovative, practical checklist of steps practitioners can use to maximize the reliability and validity of RNA instruments.

The first principle, fairness, holds that RNA tools should be used to yield more equitable outcomes. When designing risk assessments, we need to address and overcome potential sources of bias. Accounting for the possibility of bias from the beginning can help shape RNAs to mitigate racial and ethnic disparities in the way people are assessed, rather than perpetuating those disparities. Disparities can also be reduced by shifting the way RNAs are used, such as delivering more programming resources to those who need them the most. Designing for fairness provides correctional agencies with a strategy for achieving better, more just outcomes.

The second principle, efficiency, indicates that RNA instruments are more reliable when they are more automated. Right now, most RNAs involve scoring each person manually on items like criminal history, demographic characteristics, dynamic risk factors, and program participation. Running an RNA on manual inputs takes a great deal of time, and it also opens the door to subjective and biased scoring. Computer-assisted scoring, in contrast, ensures that an RNA’s inputs are more consistent and reliable, which is more fair and also takes up less time and fewer resources. 

RNA instruments should not only be fair and efficient; they also need to be effective. Significant advances in statistics, data science, and predictive analytics have introduced new options for RNA tools that make better predictions. For example, machine learning algorithms offer increased predictive accuracy and overcome some of the limitations of older statistical techniques. It is also important to customize RNA tools to the population on which they will be used. Instruments built and tested with local data will perform better than off-the-shelf instruments designed for inmates from another state or jurisdiction.

Finally, beyond making technical improvements in the way RNAs are designed and applied, it is just as important to focus on their implementation. Assessing individuals’ risk must go hand in hand with increasing their awareness of the risk factors that apply to them. To this end, improved communication is the fourth key principle. We need to train correctional staff so they can explain risks and needs and translate them into a case plan with clear sanctions and incentives. Effective communication helps individuals understand how their risks and needs can be addressed with programming, empowering them to work on the factors that affect their involvement in crime. Sharing assessment information as a matter of agency policy also promotes fairness and transparency.

Reliance on these principles will produce RNA tools that reduce disparities and achieve better recidivism outcomes. Taking advantage of improved methods for designing these tools can help corrections practitioners around the country build RNA systems that are both more efficient to operate and fairer to those they assess. Still, these approaches are new, innovative, and not yet widespread, opening the way for significant transformation of the corrections field in the years to come. In the words of the guidelines’ authors, “We believe that full implementation would lead not only to more responsible and ethical use of RNA tools but also to better, more equitable outcomes for correctional populations and systems.”

About This Article

The research described in this article was funded by NIJ contact 2010F_10097. This article is based on the white paper, Guidelines for Post-Sentencing Risk Assessment (July 2021) by Kristofer Bret Bucklen, Grant Duwe, and Faye S. Taxman.

Notes

[note 1] Kristofer Bret Bucklen, Grant Duwe, and Faye S. Taxman, Guidelines for Post-Sentencing Risk Assessment, Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Justice, National Institute of Justice, 2021, NCJ 300654, https://www.ojp.gov/pdffiles1/nij/300654.pdf.