Training for police officers is essential to the police department and the community. It allows the officer a pre-glimpse of what the roles and duties of a career in law enforcement will be like. During police training, officers will be tested and then evaluated on his or her performance. Officers will be tested on his or her physical or mental state. Both mental and physical state are essential to the livingly-hood of the officers and the department. One type of training that focus on the officer’s physical or mental states is psychomotor training.
Psychomotor training have five levels: Perception, Readiness, Guide Action, Habit of Action, and Independent Action. Introduction “To Protect and Serve,” is the motto of every police officer in the United States. In doing so, officers are taught several different methods to protect and service the citizens of the United States. Law enforcement officers are taught several methods of training that are essential to the successfulness of the police department. Once hired to a police department, the next step is preparing yourself to enter training or the police academy.
The police academy will challenge the soon to be officer’s mental, physical, and emotion state; also the subordinate will be tested on basic police skills in-field and offfield. Training in each police department consist of basic orientation, a planned schedule training program, an organized in-service training, and a self-development training program (Cordner, 2014). However, I will be discussing the five level of the psychomotor training which are essential to the day-to-day abilities of an officers. Early Police Training
Police training is important, and without it our criminal justice system and community wouldn’t be able to run functionally. Officers are trained to handle evidence, defense tactics, arms, communication, transportation, and in arresting; however, that wasn’t always the case. In the 1840s through the early 1990s, policing was characterized with having a “watchmen” style of policing. Recruits were not formally screened and any training they received was left to seasoned police officers in the field. Unfortunately, the policing of the “watchmen era” was corrupted and this led to a reform in policing in the 1900s.
According to Samuel Walker, reformers sought to eliminate political influences, hire qualified leaders, and raise personnel standards (Walker, 1977). Richard Sylvester, superintendent of the Washington, D. C. , Police Department from 1898 to 1915, became the national voice for police reform. Another reformer, known as August Vollmer, police chief in Berkeley, California, promoted the hiring of college graduates and offered the first collegiate course in police science at the University of California.
Those are just some ways in which police training have improved and developed, now I will be discussing the first level of psychomotor. Level One: Perception of Need for Action A basic definition of psychomotor relating to police training is an officer’s action or actions that tie to an officer’s objectives aimed to pair the mind with the body. The mind is the psycho, and the body is the motor. In the first level of Psychomotor, it is known as the “Perception of Need for Action (Bumbak; 2011);” this kind of training is the cultivation of the awareness. This level of psychomotor trains the instinct of the office.
This can be done by simulating scenarios that involve unexpected suspense and danger to see how the officer will respond. For example, one police officer was involved in a shooting in a hotel; in this hotel was not classy but had been the scene of a recent armed robbery. Officer True was sitting anxiously in the empty lobby, when he decided to go out to his vehicle to get a magazine to read. While Officer True was in his car, he saw an older Chevrolet pull up to the front of the hotel fifty yards away. Probably just guests checking in to the hotel, Officer True thought.
When he exited his vehicle to return to the lobby with the magazine in hand, Officer True felt an inexplicable, uneasy sensation of the hair on the back of his neck standing up when he looked at the idling Chevrolet, empty of passengers, in front of the hotel. When he entered the lobby, he walked in on an armed, hooded assailant robbing the hotel. The assailant turned toward him with the gun, Officer True immediately drew his weapon and fired, injuring the suspect and saving his own life. Officer True survival instinct allowed him to survive this incident (Bumbak, 2011).
At the end of this level, officers will be able to recognize the physiological signs of imminent combat or danger. Level Two: Ready for Action In this level of training, officers will understand and perform the skill of execution, the fundamental recognition of the need to take action. This type of training prepares the officer in readiness skills by teaching them the appropriate stance, the equipment placement on the duty belt, and how to access the tools of the trade swiftly and assertively which separates the officers from civilians (Bumbak, 2011).
Not only will the officer learn the physical readiness, but also the emotional readiness. Emotional readiness is essential to a police officer, for an officer will need to have a stable mental state in a long trenching career in law enforcement. Level Three: Guided Action In level three of psychomotor is known as “Guided Action (Bumbak, 2011). ” Guided Action is the intermediate step between learning a new skill and mastering it. In this training, the understanding of the directions or instructions of the instructor is essential.
The instructor will demonstrate an action, and the officer will attempt to perform the same action; for example, the instructor demonstrates the correct use of the handcuffs. Immediately after, the officers will perform the same actions of the instructor. Thus, the important aspect of level three psychomotor is the action at the direction of the instructor who guides and support the officer who is learning the skill. After learning this skill, the officer will move to level four. Level Four: Habit of Action Level four is known as the “Habit of Action (Bumbak; 2011). In this level, officers will learn habits that will keep them from harm, habits of correctly completing paperwork, habits of conducting field sobriety testing, and appropriate habits when testifying in the court which are all essential to professional police work. Instructors will train officers to do all these things the same way every time, to create a habit. Instructors stress the importance in doing things out of habit, for it may and will save the officer’s life or the officers around him or her life.
This type of training takes longer than others, practicing a few hours daily to create muscle memory which generates an automatic response (habit) in the officer actions (Bumbak, 2010). Repetition is the key. In the police department, habits of actions are important when handling firearms, vehicle operations, and defense tactics. Lastly, we have the fifth and final level. Level Five: Independent Action In the final level of psychomotor is known as the “Independent Action (Bumbak, 2011);” level five requires the officer to resolve he problem on his or her own. The officer is restricted from any help from the instructor assistance.
During the course of this level, there are several scenarios in which the officer can be tested. Different scenarios that require the different use of force. For example, the officer will be restricted to use only verbal communications and if the situation escalates, the officer will only be allowed to use hand to hand combat (different scenarios for the appropriate use of force) without any assistance from the instructor or fellow officers.
Without the use of assistance, the officers will learn to apply several different methods to complete the job or objective at hand. This type of training is crucial in today’s training, for some officers have demonstrated the inappropriate use in force. Policy Implication According to Gregory B. Morrison, the use of deadly force is becoming a growing problems (Morrison, 2011). Several decades before police use of deadly force emerged as an area of scholarly investigation; US police began developing handgun training and certification programs that were focused narrowly on marksmanship proficiency.
Important characteristics associated with contemporary training approaches, such as tactics for high-risk encounters and judgment in using deadly force, were not prevalent before the 1990s. Entities external to the police academies and departments that provide this training, such as training commissions, accrediting bodies, professional associations and the federal courts have had important impacts upon the content and delivery of this training.
Most of this influence has been relatively recent, however, and the literature reveals the broad latitude that police exercise in the nature and extent of deadly force training that today subsumes handgun training. Highlighting key findings from that literature, we critically examine the highly differential approaches used by US police. This latitude is problematic in that it accommodates all but the most vacuous approaches and thus poses serious questions about police performance in high-risk encounters where officers easonably may use or threaten to use deadly force.
This is a critical matter nationally, which have led to new research and evaluation agendas focused on generating meaningful empirical information for use by decision-makers responsible for policy and practice. The goal of such future efforts would be to maximize the safety, appropriateness and effectiveness of police action during high-risk encounters, some of which will involve the use or threatened use of deadly force.
In conclusion, psychomotor training is used throughout police programs. It is used to improve the trainee’s in-field and off-field training. The completion of this training will improve the officer’s physical and mental state which are essential to a police officers’ split-second decisions. It’s a matter of life or death; a matter of professionalism or unprofessionalism; a matter of ethical and unethical decision making. Psychomotor training is an officer’s action or actions that tie to an officer’s objectives aimed to pair the mind with the body.