Date of Award

Spring 2017

Degree Type

Honors Project


College of Liberal Arts

First Advisor

Jillian Peterson


There has been growing tension between the police and public for allegations of excessive use of force, racism, and insufficient knowledge of mental illness. The purpose of this project is to examine how officers are trained to use force and what changes in training are still needed to limit using force. This project involved a comprehensive literature review on training, use of force, racial bias and mental illness. Additionally, seven in-depth interviews were conducted with individuals involved in the policing community, and four hours of use of force training and forty hours of de-escalation training were observed. This project found that there is limited research currently available on police use of force and officer training. All of the interview participants expressed that training can be improved, but were divided on how training should be improved. The observed training showed that de-escalation is not incorporated into pre-service scenario-based training and officers received conflicting information on de-escalation techniques.