Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts


Human Services


Police officers in the United States of America are afforded a tremendous amount of power over its citizens. With this power comes great responsibility and over the last several years, police use of force in the course of their duties has come under increased scrutiny. Police officers are humans who are bound by the same performance factors of the average citizen: fear, fatigue, anger, physical and mental fitness are among a whole list of influences that affect use of force encounters. Since officers are human, they are not perfect and mistakes can, and do, occur. Tragically, when police officers make mistakes, lives can be lost. Traditional police training typically consists of firearms drills, combatives, handcuffing drills, less lethal tools, and others. Missing from this training is the opportunity to incorporate mental conditioning and a better understanding of how officer physiological and psychological training affects officer performance. A new holistic approach to use of force philosophy is needed in order to help reduce the risk of unnecessary injuries and deaths. By focusing on the ethical aspects of use of force, utilizing modern training philosophies, and insisting on strong administrative oversight, realistic change is possible.