Use of Force: Improved Performance through an Evidence-Based Approach

Use of Force: Improved Performance through an Evidence-Based Approach
Duration: 60 Minutes
Module 1Module 1
Recorded on: 2023-03-23
Unit 1Presentation Materials: Use of Force: Improved Performance through an Evidence-Based Approach
Unit 2Transcript: Use of Force: Improved Performance through an Evidence-Based Approach
Unit 3Workbook: Use of Force: Improved Performance through an Evidence-Based Approach
Unit 4Recording: Use of Force: Improved Performance through an Evidence-Based Approach

Law drives policy, policy drives training, and training should lead to improved performance. This is the premise for this webinar. And for this transitive law to effectively play out, Ashley Heiberger proposes that data is needed to come up with a needs assessment which will then inform training.

Ashley Heiberger is a police officer for 22 years and retired as a captain and the Professional Standards Division Commander in a medium-sized agency in Pennsylvania. He worked as an advisor for a firm handling compliance and currently maintains a consulting and expert witness practice focused on policy development and use of force.

Specifics of the discussion are on:

  • How society is changing, how these changes are affecting policing, and pivotal incidents that shaped these changes.
  • The different standards by which use of force by law enforcement officers is evaluated, their characteristics, and the rate of evolution across each of these.
  • Statistics surrounding officer-involved shootings (OIS)
    • A glimpse into some of the most high-profile OIS incidents, and how it indicates a substantial increase in incidents following the Ferguson and Minneapolis incidents.
    • How the major difference between the community response between those from 2014 to present and those that precede it is the availability of social media which allows the public to voice out their opinion.
    • The community response garnered in the summer of 2020 following recent use of force incidents.
  • The importance of conducting an annual needs assessment for use of force training in law enforcement agencies.
  • How agency data is underutilized by agencies and its ability to inform the needs assessment which then shapes the training.
  • A rundown of the different data sources and types of data to collect that can help inform the agency’s needs assessment and training focus.
  • External data sources to tap into that can provide further insights, promising practices, and trends that can influence how training is developed in agencies.
  • The value of training police officers in intermediate force which is used more frequently in community interactions than just focusing on deadly force.
  • A dual approach to effective training that incorporates knowledge checks via written tests and demonstrated proficiency through application courses.
  • The benefits of scenario-based training that utilizes data to develop realistic scenarios that integrate all levels of force and de-escalation techniques to evaluate officers’ de-escalation and communication skills.

Points raised by the webinar attendees during the Q&A are about:

  • Research on military police use of force and rules of engagement.
  • The primary cause of excessive use of force.
  • The frequency and scope of adequate use of force training.
  • An official national tracking system for use of force data.
  • Allowing public opinion to alter tenets of officer safety.
  • Post-incident debriefings on OIS incidents as part of training.
  • Ashley’s offered training services on de-escalation.



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Resources and Handouts


Audience Comment

  • “Great presenter. Very knowledgeable.” — Kenny
  • “Good overview. Most important thing was scenario-based training is great training because it provides experiential learning and mastery experiences for better learning or training.” — Gerald
  • “I liked the concept of using data to drive your training needs and not just training on policy alone.” — Bruce
  • “I will note that the presenter for Use of Force: Improved Performance through an Evidence-Based Approach had my respect from the beginning by acknowledging what some officers have done through use of force incidents was a result of criminality, not policing. I feel like this was good for the audience to hear as the issue with Use of Force is when you misuse it, not use it to provide safety to the officers or community.” — Alicia
  • “The Presenter was extremely knowledgeable and showed compassion in presenting this topic.” — Vivian
  • “Excellent advice, comprehensive and systemic approach to understanding use of force, and good treatment of training issues.” — Bill





The American Society of EvidenceBased Policing is a non-profit organization started by working police officers designed to drive the national conversation towards ensuring that the least harmful, most effective, fairest, and safest strategies are employed to prevent crime, reduce harm, and improve community wellness.





Additional Resources
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After the Webinar: Use of Force – Improved Performance through an Evidence Based Approach. Q&A with Ashley Heiberger
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