Date of Graduation

5-2013

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Kinesiology (PhD)

Degree Level

Graduate

Department

Health, Human Performance and Recreation

Advisor

Dean Gorman

Committee Member

Douglas Adams

Second Committee Member

George Denny

Third Committee Member

Jack Kern

Fourth Committee Member

Cathy Lirgg

Fifth Committee Member

Angela Smith-Nix

Keywords

Health and environmental sciences; Firearm training; Law enforcement officers; Motor learning; Motor patterns

Abstract

Firearms proficiency is an implicit expectation, held by the public of police officers, due to presumption that the required firearm training is an adequate preparation for a deadly force encounter. However, anecdotal evidence and available data on police shootings suggest that conventional, unrealistic training methods are wholly inadequate. To present stress into firearms training, some departments have opted for exercises such as physical exertion and shoot-house training as a substitute for realistic simulation of force-on-force confrontations.

To determine whether such exercises are comparable, an observation of performance and heart rate levels was conducted on a group of eight police officers, performing four different firearms exercises. The results of the observation strongly suggest that there is a significant difference between the group of exercises in both measures, with more realistic exercises producing substantially decreased performance and raised heart rate levels. The implications for firearms training and qualification are discussed.

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