A Washington State University professor of criminal justice and the Spokane Police Department have been featured on CNN for their collaboration on research into the physical and emotional responses of law enforcement in crisis situations.
As part of its "AC360" program hosted by Anderson Cooper, reporter Gary Tuchman visited a police confrontations lab run by students at WSU Spokane. Volunteers, including members of the Spokane Police Department, are placed in a virtual reality situation involving dramatizations of real-life confrontations, and their heart rate, brain waves and other vital signs are monitored as they make decisions about use of force.
You can watch the segment in its entirety below:
Professor Bryan Vila says the experiments are designed to determine the effect of training on decisions to use force in real-time.
"We still don't know if there's a connection between the training we give police officers and their performance in a combat situation," Vila says in the clip.
The CNN report was filed as part of its coverage into the shooting death of an unarmed teenager in the St. Louis suburb of Ferguson, Missouri. Spokane police highlight their involvement in the project as part of their ongoing efforts to train officers in crisis intervention, part of a settlement reached with the department in the wake of the death of Otto Zehm at the hands of former Spokane police officer Karl Thompson in 2006. Police have also turned to the classroom to practice and evaluate their techniques of crisis de-escalation.