Force Science News #137:
Six updates of interest to Force Science readers
In this issue:
I. FSRC’s ground-breaking police driving program barrels toward the finish line
Filming has been completed for the visual components of the cutting-edge program under development by the Force Science Research Center to radically change the way LEOs are trained in police driving. A pilot test run is expected to be launched in about a month.
The project, more fully described in FSN Transmission #116, is a collaboration between FSRC and the English firm a2om (pronounced “atom”), a pioneer in neuroscientific-based e-learning technology.
What they’re designing, says FSRC’s executive director Dr. Bill Lewinski, is a unique training system that involves an interface between officer trainees and a multitude of “challenging, real-time, real-world driving scenarios” that are projected from a DVD or through an internet connection onto the screen of a desktop or laptop computer.
“In ways significantly different from conventional driving simulators, this ‘immersion’ system utilizes the current scientific understanding of brain processing and development to improve scanning ability, hazard anticipation and detection, the interpretation of traffic patterns, and decision-making. The end result will be greater safety for officers and other drivers alike.”
For 2 weeks this fall, a 3-person a2om film crew drove a Brooklyn Center (MN) PD squad car and another vehicle through traffic in the Minnesota Twin Cities. “The cars were outfitted with multiple cameras so that all aspects of traffic—forward through the windshield and in each rear-view mirror—could be captured at a variety of speeds from the perspective of a driving officer,” Lewinski explains.
“They filmed a wide variety of driving sequences and traffic encounters that can be used for instructional purposes. They kept driving until they got exactly what they wanted,” recording an estimated 50 hours of footage.
The images are now being computerized so that a technical team can build effective training scenarios.
Lewinski estimates that before Christmas, researchers will be ready to begin a pilot study of the resulting training program in cooperation with an as-yet-unnamed police agency in the United States. The pilot, expected to last several months, will first detect any bugs in the system and then confirm that it “really can bring about the measureable changes in driver judgment and performance that we expect,” Lewinski says.
The experience a2om has had with similar training programs designed for civilians “suggests that changes in how drivers make decisions can be effected in a matter of weeks,” Lewinski says.
Ultimately, the collaborative partnership hopes to produce “an affordable training package that will help law enforcement agencies sharply reduce officer deaths and injuries, better protect the civilian population, and cut the costs and liabilities of driving mishaps.”
II. New patent will help expand research on unintended discharges
The U.S. Patent Office has granted a patent to 2 Force Science researchers for a firearms sensor system that may eventually prove valuable in discouraging unintentional discharges and improving handgun handling.
The patent, issued to Dr. Bill Lewinski, executive director of the Force Science Institute, and Dr. Bill Hudson, the Institute’s electrical engineering consultant, covers an arrangement of pressure-sensitive devices that can indicate whether a firearm is gripped properly and whether a shooter’s index finger is correctly aligned on the frame outside the trigger guard.
Initially, Lewinski told Force Science News, the system will be used for research purposes only, on a special handgun that does not fire live rounds. Grip and finger placement of test subjects will be monitored by electrical signals generated by sensors adhered to the gun or via a computer hookup. The data collected will be important to ongoing studies by the Force Science Research Center regarding the role of attention, awareness, and finger placement in unintended discharges.
“Eventually,” Lewinski says, “this sensor system could be used on training guns on ranges and in force-on-force drills. As we progress with our empirical research, we’ll also we exploring real-world applications for this development.”
FSN will keep you posted on results.
III. Can you sharpen your observation skills by studying great art?
Can cops improve their on-job performance by visiting an art museum?
Amy Herman, an art historian and lawyer, thinks so and her experiences with LEOs in New York City seem to prove it.
As part of a 3-hour course for law enforcement she teaches called “The Art of Perception,” Herman leads officers from NYPD and other agencies to NYC’s art museums, where she has them study and report on what they see in a variety of classical paintings. The idea is to fine-tune their attention to visual details and their ability to objectively communicate them to others, skills “which might prove critical in solving or preventing a crime.”
Herman started with a similar course for medical students and expanded to the police world after a harrowing night on a ride-along when she realized that cogent and precise communications “could have life-or-death consequences.”
One of her program’s crime-fighting successes involves a multi-agency task force that was investigating mob control of garbage collection in Connecticut. During the probe, an undercover FBI agent who was involved happened to attend Herman’s class.
His boss said later that the experience helped the agent “sharpen his observations of office layouts, storage lockers, decks, and file cabinets containing incriminating evidence.” The information he provided led to detailed search warrants and ultimately resulted in 34 convictions and government seizures worth up to $100,000,000.
Herman’s training is described in more detail in a recent issue of Smithsonian Magazine. Click here to read the article.
IV. Civilian-oversight crowd gets a dose of Force Science
A conference in Austin, TX, recently offered the first chance for Force Science principles and the studies of the Force Science Research Center to be presented to an international gathering of civilian-oversight practitioners—a group FSRC’s executive director Dr. Bill Lewinski describes as “a vitally important target audience.”
The conference was the annual convention of the National Assn. for Civilian Oversight of Law Enforcement (NACOLE), which attracted some 200 attendees from 30 states and a variety of countries abroad, including Norway, Northern Ireland, and Jamaica. Law enforcement personnel, members of police commissions and civilian review boards, and others who monitor and investigate police activities, including use-of-force incidents, were represented.
According to NACOLE president Andre Birotte, “Many had never heard of Force Science concepts and research before. Our board felt it was important for them to be informed because of the cutting-edge nature of that work.”
In a fast-moving, 90-minute presentation, Lewinski gave the group a basic introduction to what the latest research reveals about human performance in life-threatening situations, touching on how scientific findings can be used in evaluating controversial use-of-force situations where officers often are inappropriately accused of misdeeds.
“He gave the audience a lot of food for thought,” Birotte says, “and the feedback was overwhelmingly positive. Whether this will affect oversight decisions in the future remains to be seen, but it will definitely cause those who were present to think about the science involved in stressful force encounters.”
Birotte says the invitation to speak was extended to Lewinski after a NACOLE board member from Washington State attended a Force Science certification class and earned her designation as a Force Science analyst.
V. “Excited delirium” vs. “excited delirium syndrome”: A difference?
A reader responds to Force Science News Transmission #136 [11/7/09], a report on the recognition by the American College of Emergency Physicians of excited delirium as a “real” medical diagnosis:
Fantastic news! Recognition of excited delirium by such a prestigious group will definitely help law enforcement and other first responders when accusations of excessive force or inappropriate care arise.
Regarding terminology used in your report, I feel required to point out, however, that having attended all the conferences of the Institute for the Prevention of In-Custody Deaths and having read numerous texts on the subject, I understand that the term “excited delirium” is a descriptive phrase for the individual exhibiting the disorder and may result in death and may not. “Excited delirium syndrome” is only attached when the individual dies and there is no pathology or injury to explain the death.
Keep up the excellent work. Force Science continues to be there to lead the fight against unjust accusations and ignorance and this effort is greatly appreciated.
Affordable Realistic Tactical Training
Del Valle, TX
Editor’s Note: Dr. Matthew Sztajnkrycer, a Force Science Research Center advisor who was on the task force that prepared the ACEP report, comments: “The term Excited Delirium Syndrome (ExDS) was selected as most appropriate because ExDS is best thought of as a constellation of signs and symptoms, rather than a single disease process. ExDS may proceed to death but does not need to for the condition to be present or the term to be valid. People will continue to use different labels; this was a consensus term to attempt to start unifying the medical, pathology, and science literature.” We add that the White Paper was issued by a group of professionals who possess recognized licenses, used scientific literature, experience, and research to support their position and terminology, and had their effort peer reviewed.
VI. “Star Tactic” video link
In Transmission #136, we mentioned a control technique called the Star Tactic, developed by FSRC advisor and international trainer Gary Klugiewicz as a means of managing excited delirium subjects and other unruly suspects with minimized risk of injury for all involved.
A filmed demonstration of the tactic can be accessed on BluTube, the site for law enforcement videos maintained by our strategic partner PoliceOne.com. Click here to see it.
Written by Force Science Institute
November 20th, 2009 at 1:23 pm
© 2017 Force Science Institute Ltd.