Force Science Featured In Ground-Breaking Leadership Academy

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

For the first time, Force Science findings have been framed specifically in a leadership context so supervisors and command staff can better understand what officers experience during and after major use-of-force confrontations.

A new, 4-week, cutting-edge Leadership and Career Development Academy launched this year by the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Dept. recently hosted a day-long presentation by Dr. Bill Lewinski, executive director of the Force Science Institute, to its first class of 43 law enforcement personnel. The training was held on the University of Indianapolis campus.

The group, consisting primarily of sergeants and above and drawn from IMPD and selected guest agencies, awarded Lewinski a standing ovation when he concluded his detailed documentation of what scientific research is revealing about the ways in which biology, physiology, and psychology influence officers’ perception, performance, and memory in high-stress, life-threatening encounters.

“Misunderstanding or ignoring these behavioral elements in controversial cases can easily destroy involved officers and their careers,” Lewinski said. He offered 2 real-world examples at the outset.

One concerned an officer who was accused of deliberately hurling a subject down a flight of stairs during an altercation inside a crowded dancehall. “His chief immediately announced to the media that the officer would be terminated and charged criminally,” Lewinski said.

Yet after Lewinski was called into the case as an expert, a radically different picture emerged. Based on his 45 years’ experience in the martial arts and on research into how suspects and officers are able to move during force confrontations, Lewinski knew it was “biomechanically impossible for the subject to have been thrown by the officer in the manner that was claimed.”

Indeed, a meticulous frame-by-frame examination of video of the incident revealed a pair of hands coming out of the crowd behind the officer and shoving the citizen. Eventually, a bouncer admitted that he had pushed the victim, and the officer’s insistence that he had, in fact, tried to prevent the man from falling was substantiated.

The officer was saved, but because of the chief’s initial statement, voiced “without understanding simple biomechanics,” the department’s line officers were left alienated and “the community was left believing the criminal justice system protects officers no matter what.”

The second case involved a motor officer who shot and killed a female prescription-drug abuser who tried to run him over with her car. In the eyes of his administrators and a zealous prosecutor, the officer had not been in any jeopardy and, in fact, had run after the woman’s car, caught up with it, and unjustifiably fired the fatal shots through her driver’s window in anger, not in self-defense. He was fired and eventually tried for second-degree murder, after the chief and the city’s mayor promised her family they’d be “well-compensated,” even before the case went to a grand jury.

In that case, the officer was ultimately exonerated, largely because of a Force Science reconstruction of the confrontation that again challenged the credibility of accusations made against him. Before that, the officer and his family suffered horrendous condemnations and indignities, including blunt suggestions by a lieutenant to the officer’s wife that she should abort her pregnancy “because the father of your child is a murderer.” [Click here to read Force Science News which explains the case and click here to read Force Science News which talks about this officer’s battle back to law enforcement.]

As Lt. Rick Snyder, who heads up the IMPD Leadership Academy, told the trainees: “Not everything is always as it appears on the surface.”

Yet, Lewinski pointed out, “too often command personnel make a snap decision about what happened and then, because of ego, they don’t back off from their initial assumptions. Once an administrator moves down a particular track, he or she is unlikely to come back. Even when confronted with scientific findings, they think, ‘I can’t be wrong, so the research must be wrong.’ ”

From the 2 gripping case histories, Lewinski led the class deeply into the behavioral science components of officer-involved shootings. He likened Force Science analysts “doing for gunfights what accident reconstructionists do for vehicle collisions, working backwards to figured out what happened.”

Administrators and other departmental leaders, he said, “need to understand the dynamics of force encounters from a Force Science perspective. How are you going to judge what happened unless you understand the behavioral science behind the officer’s actions? It’s an important responsibility of administrators and supervisors to take time to look at an incident from this perspective before pronouncing on it. Even in what appear to be really weird circumstances, we are asking you to take time to check things out before publicly or internally passing judgment.”

True leaders, he said, “understand very well that success lies in suppressing their own ego and dedicating themselves to the goals of their institution.”

Among other things, Lewinski stressed the importance of allowing an involved officer time to de-stress and rest before requiring a statement after a shooting. He cited cases in which departments have insisted on interviewing officers even though they’ve been awake for more than 32 hours after a near-death experience. This, despite the fact that research has shown that even with 19 hours of wakefulness a person can have cognitive impairment equal to a BAC reading of .08 (above the legal limit in most states).

Lewinski also urged the group to support more realistic firearms and decision-making training. “When officers are trained only to qualification standards, we are not preparing them for a gunfight,” he said. “Gunfights occur at a different speed than range shooting, and most current training never brings officers to the speed of a gunfight.”

In conclusion, he praised Snyder and the IMPD for the principles being stressed in the Leadership Academy. “I value the goals you are striving for and appreciate the opportunity to be part of this unique program,” he said. The Academy will be repeated this fall, with Lewinski again addressing participants. Snyder hopes the program will continue indefinitely as an ongoing service of the department. To apply for enrollment as an outside attendee, contact Snyder at: S8626@indy.gov

For more details on the Academy and its content, click here to read a PoliceOne article on the program written by Chuck Remsberg.

Leave a Reply


  • Privacy Policy

Privacy Policy

Effective date: January 06, 2019

Force Science Institute, Ltd. (“us”, “we”, or “our”) operates the https://www.forcescience.org/ website (hereinafter referred to as the “Service”).

This page informs you of our policies regarding the collection, use, and disclosure of personal data when you use our Service and the choices you have associated with that data. Our Privacy Policy for Force Science Institute, Ltd. is based on the Privacy Policy Template from Privacy Policies.

We use your data to provide and improve the Service. By using the Service, you agree to the collection and use of information in accordance with this policy. Unless otherwise defined in this Privacy Policy, the terms used in this Privacy Policy have the same meanings as in our Terms and Conditions, accessible from https://www.forcescience.org/

Information Collection And Use

We collect several different types of information for various purposes to provide and improve our Service to you.

Types of Data Collected

Personal Data

While using our Service, we may ask you to provide us with certain personally identifiable information that can be used to contact or identify you (“Personal Data”). Personally identifiable information may include, but is not limited to:

  • Email address
  • First name and last name
  • Phone number
  • Address, State, Province, ZIP/Postal code, City
  • Cookies and Usage Data

Usage Data

We may also collect information on how the Service is accessed and used (“Usage Data”). This Usage Data may include information such as your computer’s Internet Protocol address (e.g. IP address), browser type, browser version, the pages of our Service that you visit, the time and date of your visit, the time spent on those pages, unique device identifiers and other diagnostic data.

Tracking & Cookies Data

We use cookies and similar tracking technologies to track the activity on our Service and hold certain information.

Cookies are files with small amount of data which may include an anonymous unique identifier. Cookies are sent to your browser from a website and stored on your device. Tracking technologies also used are beacons, tags, and scripts to collect and track information and to improve and analyze our Service.

You can instruct your browser to refuse all cookies or to indicate when a cookie is being sent. However, if you do not accept cookies, you may not be able to use some portions of our Service. You can learn more how to manage cookies in the Browser Cookies Guide.

Examples of Cookies we use:

  • Session Cookies. We use Session Cookies to operate our Service.
  • Preference Cookies. We use Preference Cookies to remember your preferences and various settings.
  • Security Cookies. We use Security Cookies for security purposes.

Use of Data

Force Science Institute, Ltd. uses the collected data for various purposes:

  • To provide and maintain the Service
  • To notify you about changes to our Service
  • To allow you to participate in interactive features of our Service when you choose to do so
  • To provide customer care and support
  • To provide analysis or valuable information so that we can improve the Service
  • To monitor the usage of the Service
  • To detect, prevent and address technical issues

Transfer Of Data

Your information, including Personal Data, may be transferred to — and maintained on — computers located outside of your state, province, country or other governmental jurisdiction where the data protection laws may differ than those from your jurisdiction.

If you are located outside United States and choose to provide information to us, please note that we transfer the data, including Personal Data, to United States and process it there.

Your consent to this Privacy Policy followed by your submission of such information represents your agreement to that transfer.

Force Science Institute, Ltd. will take all steps reasonably necessary to ensure that your data is treated securely and in accordance with this Privacy Policy and no transfer of your Personal Data will take place to an organization or a country unless there are adequate controls in place including the security of your data and other personal information.

Disclosure Of Data

Legal Requirements

Force Science Institute, Ltd. may disclose your Personal Data in the good faith belief that such action is necessary to:

  • To comply with a legal obligation
  • To protect and defend the rights or property of Force Science Institute, Ltd.
  • To prevent or investigate possible wrongdoing in connection with the Service
  • To protect the personal safety of users of the Service or the public
  • To protect against legal liability

Security Of Data

The security of your data is important to us, but remember that no method of transmission over the Internet, or method of electronic storage is 100% secure. While we strive to use commercially acceptable means to protect your Personal Data, we cannot guarantee its absolute security.

Service Providers

We may employ third party companies and individuals to facilitate our Service (“Service Providers”), to provide the Service on our behalf, to perform Service-related services or to assist us in analyzing how our Service is used.

These third parties have access to your Personal Data only to perform these tasks on our behalf and are obligated not to disclose or use it for any other purpose.


We may use third-party Service Providers to monitor and analyze the use of our Service.

  • Google AnalyticsGoogle Analytics is a web analytics service offered by Google that tracks and reports website traffic. Google uses the data collected to track and monitor the use of our Service. This data is shared with other Google services. Google may use the collected data to contextualize and personalize the ads of its own advertising network.You can opt-out of having made your activity on the Service available to Google Analytics by installing the Google Analytics opt-out browser add-on. The add-on prevents the Google Analytics JavaScript (ga.js, analytics.js, and dc.js) from sharing information with Google Analytics about visits activity.For more information on the privacy practices of Google, please visit the Google Privacy & Terms web page: https://policies.google.com/privacy?hl=en

Links To Other Sites

Our Service may contain links to other sites that are not operated by us. If you click on a third party link, you will be directed to that third party’s site. We strongly advise you to review the Privacy Policy of every site you visit.

We have no control over and assume no responsibility for the content, privacy policies or practices of any third party sites or services.

Children’s Privacy

Our Service does not address anyone under the age of 18 (“Children”).

We do not knowingly collect personally identifiable information from anyone under the age of 18. If you are a parent or guardian and you are aware that your Children has provided us with Personal Data, please contact us. If we become aware that we have collected Personal Data from children without verification of parental consent, we take steps to remove that information from our servers.

Changes To This Privacy Policy

We may update our Privacy Policy from time to time. We will notify you of any changes by posting the new Privacy Policy on this page.

We will let you know via email and/or a prominent notice on our Service, prior to the change becoming effective and update the “effective date” at the top of this Privacy Policy.

You are advised to review this Privacy Policy periodically for any changes. Changes to this Privacy Policy are effective when they are posted on this page.

Contact Us

If you have any questions about this Privacy Policy, please contact us:

  • By email: support@forcescience.org
  • By visiting this page on our website: https://www.forcescience.org/contact
  • By phone number: 866-683-1944
  • By mail: Force Science Institute, Ltd.