Stress in Law Enforcement Firearms Training

Date

2023-02

Authors

Dial, Robert

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Abstract

Law enforcement officers are bound by a code of ethics which dictates, they serve and protect individuals and the communities in which they reside. Often, police officers are asked to protect the innocent, or those that cannot defend themselves, and this results in the use of deadly force. It is certainly no secret that in the past decade there have been many instances of officers using this highest level of force on civilians, often to public outcry. This has had a ripple effect in law enforcement with many budget cuts, as well as retention or recruitment problems, which create staffing issues. These issues, coupled with the fact that human beings do not perform well under stressful conditions, create scenarios wherein police officers are missing their intended targets seven out of 10 times in these deadly force encounters. Agency administrators should be concerned with the inherent liability issues raised by these seven missing rounds as well as concerns for their officers to be effective in their duty to serve and protect. If that were not incentive enough, there is the recent trend wherein police officers are being ambushed at alarming rates, so much so, that Police Tribune (2021) noted that in 2021 ambush styled attacks on police officers were up 91%. Simply stated, law enforcement officers are facing ever-increasing stressful firearms encounters with little training to promote successful outcomes. It is incumbent for police administrators to not only provide firearms training but more importantly, quality firearms training. This burden will lie with the individual administrator as the state of Texas does not mandate ongoing firearms training, much less training that is relevant or realistic. For all the aforementioned reasons, law enforcement agencies should implement stress in firearms training.

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Keywords

Police--Equipment and Supplies, Firearms, Police Training, Police--Mental Health, Police Psychology, Police Job Stress

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