Behavioral Science for Real World Policing

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Blue Line Science Training Group
Missouri Southern State University

Behavioral Science for Real World Policing

February 23, 2018
*** 9:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. ***
MSSU Criminal Justice Bldg.
3950 E. Newman Rd., Room 125
Joplin, MO. 64801


In each two-hour session we will present a framework for the application of behavioral science specific to that topic. We will encourage an open forum discussion and questions so that we can better provide insight and understanding into improving police performance. This course is ideal for Command, supervisors, trainers, and those responsible for promoting professional police performance.


Use of Force (2 Hrs. Interpersonal)

Conventional wisdom and antiquated police literature places physiological arousal as the primary contributor or causal agent of controversial force events and questionable police-citizen conflicts. Modern research and behavioral science provide for insight into the actual root cause of failure during the police-to-citizen interpersonal exchange.

• Understand what causes an officer’s ‘overreaction’?
• Understand how human performance factors can cause policy violations.
• Use of force investigations: common errors and misconceptions
• What is an emotional timeline and how does it affect decision-making?
• What should defensive tactics look like? Is tradition getting officers hurt or killed?


Emotional Intelligence: The Harsh Reality of Police Interviewing (2 Hrs. Interpersonal)


If an officer cannot identify deceptive behavior without using undue psychological pressure then we are not properly equipping them to perform responsibly and effectively in the interview room. Current interviewing practices are likened to a psychological battering ram. Great bodies of research provide for a diagnostic insight into human behavior.  It is time that we bring science into the interview room.


  • Behavior analysis: using validated criteria as a force multiplier to maintain investigative tempo.
  • First, do no harm: interviewing at risk and vulnerable persons.
  • Eliciting information at suicide and other sensitive scenes.
  • Self-consciousness in the room: directing the investigator’s focus off of self and to the suspect.
  • Understand how judgment and other emotionally based behaviors prevent confessions?
  • Understand the effect of truth and lie bias in an interview setting.


Blue Pride: The Theory and Practice of Developing Trust (2 Hrs. Interpersonal)


There is a sharp contrast between respect-based and shame-based personal and organizational behavior. If you have ever observed the sort of fight that seemed to exist for its own sake rather than for resolution of difference then you have witnessed a shame-based transaction.

A respect-based system is one in which “patterns of interaction are based upon accepting people as they are—not as they should be—open communication, and accountability will fall on the respectful end of the continuum and, in general, will have more fulfilled and emotionally well members.”

When an organizational or leadership response leans toward the preservation of dominance rather than a realistic self-appraisal the boundaries between organization and self are compromised.

  • Healthy communication within your FTO-Program.
  • The role of emotions in police culture.
  • Selection and hiring: early identification of vulnerable candidates.
  • Emotional competence at Command levels.
  • Learn to transition organizational and interpersonal interaction from shame-based to respect-based.

This is Missouri P.O.S.T. approved training. For registration contact Stefanie Allen at (417) 625-9511 or email

For additional information contact Bob Higginbotham at