Salus Journal (May 2017)

Weapon System Selection in Police Use-of-Force Training: Value to Skill Transfer Categorisation Matrix

  • Mario S. Staller,
  • Oliver Bertram,
  • Swen Körner*

Journal volume & issue
Vol. 5, no. 2
pp. 1 – 15


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The development of transferable skills that help officers in preventing and dealing with armed and unarmed confrontations is crucial to police use-of-force (PUOF) training. Based on the concept of representative learning designs guided by an ecological dynamics perspective to learning, we argue, that skill acquisition is predicated on continuous information-based interaction between the learner and the performance environment. This nonlinear pedagogical approach to PUOF practice requires PUOF coaches to underpin their operational practice with a clear understanding of the interactional relationship between the informational variables and the goal directed behavior. As such, a sound knowledge of the functional properties of used weapon systems is essential, in order to efficiently locate their use within the context of PUOF learning environments. The paper proposes a categorisation matrix to weapon systems that are used in PUOF training settings according to their functional properties and their opportunities for learning. On a practical level the matrix enables PUOF coaches to make decisions about the use of different training systems based on their functional properties. On an organisational level the matrix helps law enforcement agencies to evaluate the cost-benefit ratio, when investing in new training systems.