Abstract

Much police ‘Use of Force (UOF)’ training focuses on range shooting, classroom-based learning,
and minimal exposure to realistic scenarios. Consequently, police officers may not be prepared
for real-world critical incidents, due to lack of experience making UOF decisions during high
stress. This study compared two SWAT (“Special Weapons and Tactics”) teams (n=24) to
examine the best-simulated physiological stress responses in real-world law enforcement UOF
encounters. Results revealed officer physiological stress to highly realistic scenario training was
significantly correlated to the stress responses of active duty police officers. Stress responses
during classroom-based scenario trainings were minimal, and not significantly related to stress
responses experienced during realistic training scenarios or activity duty emergency calls.