New Book: Deadly Force Encounters, Second Edition: Cops & Citizens Defending Themselves and Others

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With their latest book, Deadly Force Encounters, Second Edition, Dr. Alexis Artwohl and Loren W. Christensen present the much-anticipated update to their groundbreaking 1997 publication. Still focused on preparing cops “to mentally and physically prepare for and survive a gunfight,” the authors’ second edition is thoughtfully expanded to include civilians who may suddenly find themselves in deadly force encounters.

Subtitled Cops & Citizens Defending Themselves and OthersDeadly Force Encounters, presents extensive updates on human performance under stress. It provides recommendations to officers, agencies, and citizens on how to survive deadly force encounters, and the psychological, emotional, and legal aftermath.

Twice the length of the original work, Deadly Force Encounters, retains the best of the first edition, while introducing readers to the latest training, investigative, and self-care strategies. Although the authors are unequivocal in their belief that community members can be important allies and force multipliers, they offer a realistic view of sudden violence and the need to be prepared and equipped to meet that violence.

The latest edition of Deadly Force Encounters is more than just expert training and procedural recommendations.  With great skill, the authors contribute to some of the most controversial present-day police reform debates. They tackle head-on issues such as de-escalation, implicit bias, cultural sensitivity, and the guardian/warrior mindset.

Even as Dr. Artwohl and Mr. Christensen confront the myths and misinformation that obscure policing and deadly force decision-making, they never lose sight of their primary objective—educating officers, courts, and community members on what they can realistically expect when perfectly imperfect humans are required to confront sudden and unrestrained violence.

As the authors pull back the curtain and expertly guide readers into the unforgiving world of violence, they introduce us to some of the most accomplished researchers, attorneys, and police trainers. Although the authors can stand on their own credentials and speak with authority, Deadly Force Encounters is impressively sourced, and the bibliography offers opportunities for further study in every chapter.

It was strongly suggested that the first edition of Deadly Force Encounters be required reading for academy classes, and that recommendation is echoed here for this latest edition. The topics are complicated, serious, and important—but the book was written in a style that is entertaining, educating, and easy to understand.

Dr. Bill Lewinski, executive director of the Force Science Institute, said, “Dr. Artwohl, a retired police psychologist, has been teaching in the Force Science Certification Course since the initial course in London, UK for New Scotland Yard in March 2008. For eleven years, she lectured in every Certification Course presented in three countries. Our attendees witnessed the tremendous passion, knowledge, and commitment she brings to the profession and in particular, the human being behind the badge.”

Deadly Force Encounters is the product of the many decades Dr. Artwohl spent helping officers survive working on the edge, both during and after critical incidents. This latest work with Loren Christensen continues that investment into the officers and the profession to which she has dedicated so much of her life.” Dr. Lewinski’s respect for Alexis is unreserved, “With chapters ranging from surviving an ambush to helping your family survive and grow after an incident, Deadly Force Encounters is filled with wisdom, knowledge, and the latest research. Like her, the work is brilliant and insightful yet practical and helpful.”

When reached for comment, Dr. Artwohl’s continued passion was evident, “Like my presentations with the Force Science Institute, Deadly Force Encounters: Second Edition presents solid, multi-disciplinary research relevant to use-of-force in America.  I encourage everyone to apply behavioral science to this critical and complex issue, so we are not expecting police officers and citizens to exceed the limits of human performance. The physical, legal, and emotional survival of officers and citizens deserve careful and thoughtful analysis from every single person. The safety of our communities, our officers, and the very fabric of civil society itself depend on it.”

Although she retired from her teaching position with Force Science in 2019, in part to devote more time to the completion of this book, Force Science is honored to announce that Dr. Artwohl will be speaking at the Third Annual Force Science Conference, August 2020 at the Radisson Blu Mall of America in Minneapolis. She has graciously agreed to be available for book signing at the conference.

Interview with Dr. Alexis Artwohl

1 Response
  1. JAMES

    This topic seems to go to “Reasonableness” of the 5 elements which constitutes Self-Defense: Innocence, Imminence, Avoidance, Proportionality and Reasonableness. Attorney Andrew Branca pointed out the two parts of Reasonableness: Subjective and Objective. He further stated an expert on “Subjective” Reasonableness would not be permitted to testify at trial b/c no one knows what your perception was better than you. But is that not just what this book addresses in part? How you Reasonably thought the “cell phone” was a gun? Or why the “victim” has three bullet wounds in his back, was he not running away? Seems this is where you need an expert. Few have been in violent, life or death encounter, yet judge the ‘shooter’ with the same standards they use in: balancing a check book, planning how they will ask for a raise etc. Yet the ‘shooter’ has to explain how matters happened in parts of a second perhaps. Would seem an expert is needed to explain your “Subjective Reasonableness”. You may not understand why you did or what you did in parts of a second when you were in fear for your life.

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