Latest Blog Post from Dave Blake

  • Human Factors on Trial

    Human Factors on Trial

    Dave Blake is the prevailing Human Factors / UOF expert in the Daniel Willis Murder Trial (Bastrop, Tx).

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  • Taser use restricted

    Taser use restricted

    The courts have once again restricted the use of the ECD (Taser) in regards to passive resistance...(read more)

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  • Police Use of Force Decision Making

    Police Use of Force Decision Making

    An article discussing current trends in evaluating police use of force. Decision making being the central topic...

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  • NY Times Attacks The Force Science Institute

    NY Times Attacks The Force Science Institute
    The New York Times recently published an article by Matt Apuzzo entitled, “Training Officers to Shoot First, and He Will Answer Questions Later”. The article’s title continues to vilify American Law Enforcement while the contents of the article attack Dr. William Lewinski and the Force Science Institute.

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  • Journalist Experiences Split Second UOF Decision Making Scenario

    Journalist Wearing A Badge
    All police officers are not perfect, a very small amount might even be downright bad. As in every occupation and the populace in general - there are some rotten eggs. However, unlike other occupations, Police are quick to purge rot pretty quickly.

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  • High Risk Traffic Stops

    How to improve officer training
    The problem with ever-increasing stress during critical incidents such as a HRTS is found in an associated decrease in critical thinking abilities. You’re behind that stolen Honda Civic from this morning’s roll call. The important information has been relayed to dispatch and cover units are en route.

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  • Kids & Replica Weapons

    How Many Kids Have to Die?
    On October 22, 2013, deputies from the Santa Rosa Sheriff’s department challenged an armed man walking in what has been described as a high crime area within the county. The man reportedly turned towards the Deputies while raising the barrel of a rifle.

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  • CTI's Force Encounters Analysis Course

    Force Encounters Analysis Course
    California Training Institute (CTI) has developed what may be the most important law enforcement course available to today; a dynamic, participant-centered course, providing the latest, in unbiased scientific evidence pertaining to officer involved use of force (UOF).

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Journalist Wearing A Badge - A Teachable Moment?

All police officers are not perfect, a very small amount might even be downright bad. As in every occupation and the populace in general - there are some rotten eggs. However, unlike other occupations, Police are quick to purge rot pretty quickly. False public perception aside; we investigate our own, we discipline our own, we fire our own, and we prosecute and jail our own when necessary.

Police are human beings forced in to highly stressful and rapidly evolving situations with minimal training (yes, minimal) while being expected to perform perfectly - which is unreasonable. As many sit back and judge police actions from the comfort of the living room couch, few perform self assessments in similar contexts. Few will look at the mistakes they make on a daily basis under much less stressful circumstances. If individuals make an analytical decision mistake, or a mistake based on attention, or a memory mistake - all while sitting at their desk - Is it reasonable to expect the police officer to perform better? What decisions would most people make when chasing a potentially armed robbery suspect when that suspect turns and decides to fight? The separation between the human wearing a badge and the human reading this narrative is absolutely zero in the context of fear and the human experience. The idea that a police officer is some highly trained, robotic, superhuman is overwhelmingly false and is formulated in Hollywood's portrayal rather than reality.

Are human beings in society emotionally in control 24/7? Do they maintain professionalism, tact, and absolute steady hands in every encounter? Not likely - people loose their cool daily in a myriad of low stress situations. Many people can't handle a short deadline  without becoming stressed to the point of inefficiency. Yet, the public expects inhuman emotional control from all officers all the time. Officers who are lied to, spit on, called names, fought with and yelled at are expected to be inhumanly unemotional during these events. Most of society would absolutely lose emotional control under these circumstances, while many have under much less severe circumstances - hence one reason we have law enforcement to begin with. Regardless of the media rhetoric - remember the positions we put law enforcement officers in are not comparative to most people's daily lives - they are much, much worse.

Of most concern is the societal expectation of an officer's 100 percent accurate analytical thinking within the context of a few second to half second use of force situation. A level of decision making skill humans are incapable of in a "if this / than that" time compressed situation where failure to act may cost a life (the officers). Interestingly enough many folks can't handle the stress of running late to work effectively, but they expect the officer to perform differently due to his Alien genes?   

This is not intended as a justification for poor decisions or bad behavior, it is a request for a reasonable point of view. A point of view that first asks, do I have any facts that would allow me to reasonably interpret this situations? A second question would be what would I do in that situation and do I believe I perform so well under stress that I would not make the perceived mistake the officer made? Is it reasonable to expect better basic human  performance from another human being because they wear a uniform?

The bottom line is that very few people are placed in situations that are ambiguous in nature while dealing with uncooperative and potentially violent people. Yet too many feel they can do better..... 

A policeman experiences a great deal of fear. They won't say it often and they won't allow it to show. They have been trained to suppress fear physically and emotionally in an attempt to not show weakness. Yet, the fear is there. The overt reactions of the reporter in the video are an outward display of what officers feel on the inside. They react to what they see, using the best judgement possible in such a little amount of time (not much). How do you think you would do?

The message should not revolve around the vilification of law enforcement, but rather be one based in common sense and social responsibility:

"Please don't resist, don't run, don't fight: the battle is in the courtroom, not the street"