Police training full of pseudoscientific bullshit—and they like it that way

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Wow. So Lewinski claims that non-cops can draw a gun and shoot the officer faster than the officer can draw a gun and shoot back. All cops, and all non-cops, by the sounds of it. Maybe we should fire all the cops and hire the non-cops instead, since they can apparently shoot better?


If something bad happens I will call my homies instead of the cops, firemen, ems or others of their ilk.


By keeping them seriously misinformed, they’re able to control them better.
And then they mistrust the regular really-informed public.

I have had decent luck with fire and EMS services. But I certainly don’t call cops.

12 years ago I took a cognitive psych class with a really cool professor. He actually used police techniques to show how not to get a good response from people when they are in a cognitive state of arousal, such as freaked out not 30 shades of grey.

He used Cops TV show clips to explain how screaming at someone and pointing guns at them create an environment where it’s very likely folks can’t comply because they feel a very real sense of danger.

Now I can’t watch any Cop shows without thinking back to his entry Cog Psych class, and how if you want folks to comply, you have to deescalate, not keep screaming orders at them behind drawn guns. Our brains can’t even process information well under those kinds of circumstances.


Great that this is getting revealed but there are much more hidden versions of this. Consider PredPol a “Big Data” approach to crime prediction. This is also complete nonsense: using “earthquake models” to make the analysis sound scientific. The obvious problem with PredPol is that it uses historical arrest records, which is of course collected by police officers, and given the history of racist policing, it is not a surprise that PredPol suggests crime hotspots in the same old locations. It is also not a surprise that police departments like using this software since it very rarely tells them to do any different from their existing policing strategies.

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I’d like this one three more times if I could.


There’s a similar problem with firefighting. The science points toward using a mist of water to cool the perimeter of a fire, before busting down the door and dousing the fire’s core. But tradition holds that only a direct stream is effecrive, and a lot of fire crews are getting hurt doing it the old way


I just had this conversation with a volunteer firefighter. He was telling us that the operation he volunteers with uses very modern techniques, and will even go in and remove all the valuables they can quickly identify. He said they are very careful to not break windows and to not use very much water, mainly because insurance companies have really modified how they approach putting out the fire and the effect it has on people’s property.

He also told us about how one of his relatives who was a firefighter trained a group in Arkansas and they were just terrible, and would show up and drown the house in water.

It was an interesting conversation.


I suspect that he is thinking about reaction time there. By the time you see the baddy drawing his gun it’s too late, unless he is inept or you are very lucky.

FTA: “Michael Brown was, at best, stopped by police for stealing cigarillos. Sandra Bland for failing to signal a lane change. Freddie Gray for carrying a switchblade.”

I thought that Michael Brown also shoved (assaulted) the convenience store clerk/manager/owner, and that Freddie Gray was found to have a switchblade after he was stopped (not before, meaning it couldn’t have been the cause of his being stopped).

It only stands to reason that the perps would draw faster – they have regular experience with attempting to and using deadly force, wheras our poor officers are but on the receiving end!


I think you’re drawing the wrong conclusion here. In most police shootings I’ve read about, the person shot was (allegedly) reaching into the waistband of their sweatpants. Clearly, drawing from your sweatpants beats drawing from a holster, so we should just dress cops in sweatpants and have them stick their guns in the waistband. Voila! Parity is restored.


What’s also scary is how quickly civilians and especially non-police government workers will instantly buy into whatever the cops claim to be true. About a year ago I was on the jury for a case that included a charge of drug use. Ten different members of the jury (two of them involved in social work) swore up and down that the police are somehow trained to “just know” when someone is high by looking at them, and that my objection to a lack of a positive blood test was stupid.


The facts or lack of them do not matter in such cases. It is the narrative of the white cop using force that is disproportional to the perceived offense committed by a black person. The flip side is cops (of all colors) unofficially standing down so as not to get caught up in the narrative.

I think that facts matter in the opening paragraph of an article criticizing police training as lacking a basis in reality. (Also, in general.)

I’m not questioning the conclusions of the article or that there’s clearly something hugely wrong with the way police are being trained.

This thread is giving me an idea for a grass roots political campaign. The first wave would be all about putting the best firefighting science to use in the day to day operations of a fire department. Eventually we could expand on that to include arson investigation techniques and prevent another Cameron Todd Willingham from happening. And when this had enough momentum going, we could go head to head with police unions, and insist on scentifically valid police procedure. By which time it should be possible to hold DHS to the same science standards we hold our fire departments.

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I have been on the receiving end of this, and in a situation where I COULDN’T comply with deadly force orders because they were contradictory. My thought was, “I’m gonna die because these guys suck at giving orders”. I wasn’t, and never will be, armed. But if I was, I felt I was getting very close to nothing left to lose.


It almost makes me want to put some kind of portable polygraph on those people armed with deadly force. If they’re too stressed when unholstering their weapon, it’s an automatic flag for review. It wouldn’t even have to be a bad thing, I could see them getting gold stars for doing the right stuff under real pressure!

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