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Improving police use-of-force training is methodologically difficult. By providing a method for identifying the “expert” response to any given scenario, and by triangulating multiple methods, we aim to contribute towards police departments’ capacities to engage in more effective and targeted training. 42 police experts and 36 novices watched five scenarios taken from body-worn camera footage. The videos would pause at several points and respondents gave both close-ended survey answers and open-ended written answers. Using a mixed-methods approach combining quantitative regression and natural-language-processing techniques, we triangulated our findings to reach conclusions regarding the differences between experts and novices. Relative to novices, expert police officers were more likely to report the importance of force mitigation opportunities to any given scenario in close-ended questions, and were more likely to use words associated with verbal de-escalation; novices were more likely to use words associated with physical control.
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