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Title:A multi-method investigation of police defensive tactics training using a social cognitive framework
Author(s):Butler, Jeremy Maurice
Director of Research:Petruzzello, Steven J
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Petruzzello, Steven J
Doctoral Committee Member(s):Woods, Amelia M; Gothe, Neha P; Schlosser, Michael
Department / Program:Kinesiology & Community Health
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):police training
defensive tactics
use of force
Abstract:Police officers are often required to use force to effectively protect themselves as well as the public. In order to prepare officers for these physical demands, recruits receive training in fitness and defensive tactics (DT) during their Police Academy instruction. This study aimed to quantitatively measure the impact of Academy training on recruit officers’ self-efficacy (SE) and qualitatively gain insight on police DT training via focus groups with veteran officers. Participants (N = 134; Mage = 26.53) from across 3 Academy classes completed the SE scale prior to any training and upon completion of their Academy training. The results indicated those with previous self-defense experience scored higher at baseline than the untrained participants. Over 90% of the recruits displayed an increase in SE post-training. Most of the participants credited the Academy control tactics (98.5%) and fitness training (88.1%) with improving their SE. Additionally, mean SE scores were maintained after 6 months of work experience. A directed approach to content analysis was used in the focus groups to address the state of police DT training through the lens of the Social Cognitive Theory. Veteran officers (N = 11; Mage = 40.6) provided valuable insight on police training reform in the area of non-lethal force using their experiences with use of force, personal struggles in training, and the departmental constraints they’ve faced. Officers expressed support for additional training primarily via the development of grappling ability and realistic training modalities. They also addressed many barriers to training and provided recommendations for overcoming these barriers. Collectively, the two-part study offered evidence for the value of self-efficacy, self-defense experience, and a quality physical training program, on a police officer’s physical and mental preparation for force encounters.
Issue Date:2020-03-24
Rights Information:Copyright 2020 Jeremy Butler
Date Available in IDEALS:2020-08-26
Date Deposited:2020-05

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