Phoenix

DesertExile: HOW ARE 5%ERS CREATED?

05 August 2006

HOW ARE 5%ERS CREATED?


http://www.forcesciencenews.com/bouncer.html?target=08/04/2006The same principles that enable a chess player to develop championship
expertise can help a conscientious officer become what's called a
"5%er"--an exceptional performer--in the policing profession, says Dr. Bill
Lewinski, executive director of the Force Science Research Center at
Minnesota State University-Mankato.

"A highly skilled chess player has total control over the game," Lewinski
observes. "He can see ahead to anticipate what's going to happen, he knows
the right alternatives to choose from many options, he acts with speed and
confidence, and he beats the competition in a confrontation.
Lewinski cites examples of this quality at work in law enforcement:

--A rookie patrol officer and a highly skilled drug interdiction officer
independently approach a vehicle on a traffic stop. The officer with
seasoned criminal patrol skills will likely pick up immediately on cues of
a drug transport through items that are visible in the car, the way the
driver answers certain calculated questions, and the body language he
exhibits. However, the rookie (or an unmotivated officer, for that matter)
might see nothing beyond the initial traffic violation or if he does notice
telltale clues may need to spend considerable time assessing what they
might mean before reaching a conclusion.

--A highly skilled officer approaching a group of subjects on a street
corner might readily notice furtive movements indicating that an attack is
brewing, whereas a less seasoned officer might not quickly grasp the
implications of subtle early warning cues (and end up getting injured or
killed by a surprise assault).


--In a confrontation with a suspect who's resisting arrest, an officer with
less experience and training may cast about desperately along the force
continuum, trying to find something that brings compliance. An officer
who's highly experienced and trained in dealing with resistant subjects
will quickly read what he's up against and promptly and confidently select
the level of force necessary to swiftly control the situation.
In chess (and analogously in policing) this kind of instant recognition is
possible because, through experience and study, a master player has
accumulated a vast storehouse of knowledge about chess games and chess
positions. During a game, he can quickly tap into this "well-organized
system of connections" and "manipulate" it to meet the challenge at hand.

Indeed, measurements of brain activity have confirmed that while novices
are analyzing and trying to reason out what moves to make, experts are
retrieving information from their long-term memory about "positions and
associated strategies" and using that to address the problem. "This finely
tuned long-term memory appears to be crucial to expertise," Ross states.

And it's not a matter of experts having a superior memory per se, but
rather a memory that retains professional information differently.

Again comparable to certain law enforcement situations, the memory of chess
masters is specifically "tuned to typical game positions," Ross points out.
In a revealing experiment, "players at various skill levels were shown
positions on a board from actual games and positions obtained by randomly
shuffling pieces. After observing the positions briefly, the players were
asked to reconstruct them from memory."

The masters and grandmasters were "only marginally better at remembering
the random positions" but they were "significantly better than weaker
players at recalling the game positions.

"Beginners could not recall more than a very few details" of an actual game
position, Ross writes, even after having examined the board for 30 seconds,
"whereas grandmasters could usually get it perfectly, even if they had
perused it for only a few seconds." Also grandmasters were significantly
better at recalling "all the moves in a game" they had played.

"This difference tracks a particular form of memory, specific to the kind
of chess positions that commonly occur in play. The specific memory must be
the result of training, because grandmasters do no better than others in
general tests of memory," including the random-placement tests Ross
describes.

Here Lewinski sees a direct link to research recently conducted by FSRC in
England regarding police driving.

[See Force Science News transmission #49, sent 7/21/06, found here:

http://www.forcesciencenews.com/home/detail.html?serial=49 ]

Research indicates that the key "is not experience per se but 'effortful
study,'" according to Ross. Such study involves learning and practice that
entail "continually tackling challenges that lie just beyond one's
competence." In other words, Lewinski explains, as you gain in ability,
"the bar is constantly moved higher so that your skill level must keep
stretching and improving to reach it."

It's possible, Ross says, for people to "spend tens of thousands of hours
playing chess or golf or a musical instrument without ever advancing beyond
the amateur level." Yet a student who trains properly "can overtake them in
a relatively short time" and keep on improving. Interestingly, the quantity
of time spent playing chess, even in competitive tournaments, "appears to
contribute less" than effortful study to a person's progress. "The main
training value of such games is to point up weaknesses for future study,"
Ross says. (Similarly, Lewinski points out, that can be a major value of
debriefing after a policing confrontation.)

Lewinski further frames these findings in a law enforcement context. "In
law enforcement, we typically train to competency, not to proficiency," he
says. "In effect, competency means that someone determines on a basis not
related to science that if you pass a certain test you are skillful enough
to carry a gun and make deadly force decisions, for example. Proficiency
requires the application of effective techniques to a variety of relevant
situations with a high degree of skill and accuracy of judgment.


"We need to establish high standards that challenge officers to grow beyond
a minimum level of competence, to be enthusiastic about getting better at
what they do. How likely is that in departments that require an officer
merely to shoot a thousand rounds in basic firearms 'training' and then to
'qualify' 3 or 4 times a year--period?

"In that environment, there's no real training, no improvement, no one
challenging you but yourself. If you try to improve on your own, you may
run into barriers: you can only go to the range if a supervisor is there,
but the supervisor is always too busy, or you have to pay for any extra
ammunition you use.

"Instead of departmental policies and priorities that encourage mediocrity,
we need a training philosophy that encourages, nurtures and guides the
development of expertise. It's what the community expects and deserves."

If you have the burning drive of a 5%er, determined to maximize your skills
regardless of obstacles, understand that "in the early stages, effortful
study is very difficult," Lewinski says. "Pushing your limits inevitably
involves a lot of failure. When you fail, you need to back off a bit, learn
to correct your weaknesses, and build your way back up.

COMMENT:

THOUGHT#1:I truly believe that I was a 5%er. Some men go hunting. Some fish. Others play video games.
My aim was to be aware of all the hindrances on me, and still do my job as a Peace Officer.

THOUGHT#2: The writer, an expert, compares the reaction of an experieced officer and a rookie. From personal experiece, you learn to observe all visible and audible bits of information, and take action based on the input.

--In a confrontation with a suspect who's resisting arrest, an officer with
less experience and training may cast about desperately along the force
continuum, trying to find something that brings compliance. An officer
who's highly experienced and trained in dealing with resistant subjects
will quickly read what he's up against and promptly and confidently select
the level of force necessary to swiftly control the situation.


The Rookie doesn't know what is going on, and his ignorance might get his ass kicked or kill him. The Experienced Officer terminates resistance with the amount of force called for.

Now, your standard-issue civilian onlooker, and the bad guy that just got subdued will say :"You didn't need to do that!".

It always pissed me off to no end to hear some ignorant citizen tell me how I should have done it. Hell, HE has NEVER done it.
People will not tell their dentist or their plumber how to do their jobs. But everyone is an expert at Law Enforcement and Military projection of force.

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