Mental Rehearsal – A Critical Task for Police Officers




Thomas, Chanse Robert

Journal Title

Journal ISSN

Volume Title


Law Enforcement Management Institute of Texas (LEMIT)



Police officers are killed in the line of duty in the United States in alarming numbers every year. Among others, common causes are gunfire and felonious assault. These deaths happen in various locations, under a variety of circumstances, and are committed by suspects of various backgrounds for a variety of reasons. Police departments constantly search for ways to better prepare their officers to be ready for these unpredictable events. However, this has little notable effect, as the number of officers killed by gunfire and assault seems to remain steady from year to year. In order to truly reduce these deaths, officers must begin to train and rely heavily on a tried and true practice utilized by sports professionals and successful athletes for many years. This is the practice of mental rehearsal. Mental rehearsal involves the concept of visualizing an event in the mind, and imaging the body’s physical action or response to it, before the event ever takes place. This type of mental imagery has been proven to positively impact physical performance including response time, efficiency, and mental coping ability. The practice of mental rehearsal can be used at any time. It is one of the most critical variables that officers can control before any potentially dangerous incident takes place. Mental rehearsal should be a staple practice in the day-to-day actions of police officers who hope to survive the potentially deadly situations they face every time they put on their uniform and go to work.


Police Psychology, Police Training