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Proceedings Paper

Methods for reducing human error in law enforcement operations
Author(s): William R. Nelson
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Paper Abstract

Because law enforcement operations rely almost completely on human activities, human performance plays a significant role in the overall effectiveness of law enforcement agencies. In particular, human errors can prevent the successful conclusion of a broad range of law enforcement activities such as suspect apprehension, evidence handling, vehicle pursuits, and prosection. Failure to successfully apprehend a suspect, gather sufficient evidence for conviction, or obtain the conviction can very often be traced to human errors of one form or another. Systematic methods for identifying potential human errors and eliminating them or reducing their frequency have been developed and applied in a number of industries. The potential for application of these methods to law enforcement should be fully explored. The Idaho National Engineering Laboratory (INEL) has developed and applied analytic methods to identify potential human errors and to eliminate them or reduce their likelihood. These methods have been applied to the design and operation of technologies such as nuclear power plants, offshore oil platforms, nuclear medicine, and commercial aircraft. The feasibility of applying these methods to reduce human errors in law enforcement activities has been investigated by examining the risks associated with vehicle pursuit and interdiction. Based on this evaluation, the methods appear to be directly transferable to law enforcement activities. We are currently working to identify the most effective potential applications of human error analysis to law enforcement.

Paper Details

Date Published: 21 January 1997
PDF: 4 pages
Proc. SPIE 2939, Training, Education, and Liability Issues for Law Enforcement Scientists and Engineers, (21 January 1997); doi: 10.1117/12.263467
Show Author Affiliations
William R. Nelson, Idaho National Engineering Lab. (United States)

Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 2939:
Training, Education, and Liability Issues for Law Enforcement Scientists and Engineers
Trudy K. Overlin; Kathryn J. Stevens, Editor(s)

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