Keeping Out of Trouble: Universal Questions & Decision Making Model for Ethical and Lawful Policing

Keeping Out of Trouble
Duration: 60 Minutes
Module 1Resources
Recorded August 31, 2017
Unit 1Presentation: Keeping Out of Trouble
Unit 2Recording: Keeping Out of Trouble
Unit 3Webinar Notes: Keeping Out of Trouble: Universal Questions & Decision Making Model for Ethical and Lawful Policing

For a long time in law enforcement, the decision-making process model is on a do as you were told fashion. The law enforcers, trainees, police officers, among others have very little leeway or are not allowed to adjust their approach to decision making depending on the variables presented upon them during the incident. Such environment created a culture that does not promote critical thinking and rarely deconstructs their decision-making process.

This webinar’s presenter is Thomas Dworak, who works as an instructor, content developer and consultant for the Virtus group. He has an extensive background in law enforcement training having served as a sergeant from a suburban Chicago PD where he was in charge of field training.

Thom joins us to talk about the Adaptive FTO program which he developed and facilitates. He dissects the decision-making process, what influences it, and the role of emotional intelligence in critical thinking and decision-making. He discusses several models that have been used in law enforcement decision making, and a model that he thinks will best serve this purpose and ensure our police officers keep out of trouble.


Areas that Thom covered on this webinar are:

  • The components that an individual considers in their decision-making, and factors that affect decision making.
  • The benefits and limitations of policies and the reason why relying on policies and rules can be detrimental in the real world.
  • The fact that more time is being spent by law enforcers making decisions than writing reports emphasizing the need for training solely on this critical practical skill.
  • How the Fourth Amendment serves as the guiding light in law enforcement decision-making, and the importance of not merely knowing the law but also understanding and knowing how to use it.
  • What Sensemaking is, and the importance of trainees and police officers to connect their own dots and try their own solutions.
  • Balancing out your inner caveman and inner professor, and samples of famous personalities and the characteristics that make them great decision makers.
  • How emotional intelligence plays out in decision-making, and the building blocks of emotional intelligence.
  • EQ core competencies expected of police officers.
  • The models of law enforcement decision-making.
  • The Illinois model of decision-making, its components, and how it stresses concepts and philosophy, and details and techniques in the method.
  • The three components that are emphasized in the Illinois model and the universal questions for each component that serves as a guide for lawful police operations.
  • The different roles that law enforcers play in decision making.
  • The combined police search, seizure, force and intrusion workflow that police officers can use as a manual for decision-making in various incidents and cases.
  • Using feedback to ingrain critical thinking and effective decision-making through the adaptive feedback model.
  • The importance of the philosophy of embracing failure to espouse creativity and activate learning.
  • Examples of questions that can be used to advocate critical thinking to trainees and police officers.



Sources of Power, Gary Klein

Left of Bang, Patrick Van Horne & Jason A. Riley

Failing Forward, John Maxwell


Additional Resources
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