Effective Game-Based Training for Police Officer Decision-Making

Linking Missions, Skills, and Virtual Content

Published in: I/ITSEC 2020 Conference, Paper No. 20456 (2020)

Posted on RAND.org on March 12, 2021

by Timothy Marler, Susan G. Straus, Matthew L. Mizel, John S. Hollywood, Bob Harrison, Douglas Yeung, Kelly Klima, Matthew W. Lewis, Skip Rizzo, Arno Hartholt, et al.

Read More

Access further information on this document at www.xcdsystem.com

This article was published outside of RAND. The full text of the article can be found at the link above.

Often, the development of virtual training environments, specifically games for training, can focus on new technology and content development but insufficiently address underlying training goals. This paper reports the result of a two-year pilot study that developed a framework for implementing low-cost, game-based, virtual reality (VR) technology for training police officers to improve their decision-making under stress. Working closely with partners in the police training community, the study developed a method to ensure virtual training environments reflect intended training goals. This approach maps standard missions undertaken by police officers (e.g., responding to a domestic violence report), to detailed skills and knowledge required by the missions (e.g., communicate effectively at home threshold, assess safety of persons involved in dispute, identify sources of potential risk, actively de-escalate), to implementation within a virtual training environment. Once relevant skills and knowledge were identified, a small number of realistic, compelling training vignettes were developed to represent typical stressful scenarios that require rapid decision-making. These research-based vignettes were then developed into a prototype VR-based training prototype, or a "First-Person-Talker" game to train how to effectively de-escalate a domestic violence mission under stressful conditions. In turn, the prototype VR-scenario was piloted by members of a police department to elicit end-user feedback regarding how effective such a system would be to help officers become more prepared to handle rapidly escalating encounters in the field. Finally, structured methods are presented for deploying the consequent system in the context of current training curricula.

Research conducted by

This report is part of the RAND Corporation External publication series. Many RAND studies are published in peer-reviewed scholarly journals, as chapters in commercial books, or as documents published by other organizations.

Our mission to help improve policy and decisionmaking through research and analysis is enabled through our core values of quality and objectivity and our unwavering commitment to the highest level of integrity and ethical behavior. To help ensure our research and analysis are rigorous, objective, and nonpartisan, we subject our research publications to a robust and exacting quality-assurance process; avoid both the appearance and reality of financial and other conflicts of interest through staff training, project screening, and a policy of mandatory disclosure; and pursue transparency in our research engagements through our commitment to the open publication of our research findings and recommendations, disclosure of the source of funding of published research, and policies to ensure intellectual independence. For more information, visit www.rand.org/about/principles.

The RAND Corporation is a nonprofit institution that helps improve policy and decisionmaking through research and analysis. RAND's publications do not necessarily reflect the opinions of its research clients and sponsors.