Date of Award
Doctor of Philosophy (PHD)
Global Leadership - with a specialization in Education
College of Education
Police departments across the country are interested in reducing the costs of retraining and improving the rate of retention of the officers they are training. If police officers can be better trained in the skills necessary for marksmanship due to improved evaluative methods by instructors then the rate of progression in skill development could be accelerated. The purpose of this non-experimental, exploratory (comparative) and explanatory (correlational) survey research was to examine the relationships among demographics, handgrip, firearms experience, physiological changes, environmental factors, and psychological state for police officers during qualifying shooting drills, and to determine if Marksmanship during qualifying shooting drills differed among police officers according to those relationships. In addition, to determine if demographics, police experience, firearms experience, handgrip, physiological changes, and environmental factors were significant explanatory variables of the Psychological State of police officers during qualifying shooting drills; and to determine if demographics, police experience, firearms experience, psychological state, handgrip, physiological changes, and environmental factors were significant explanatory variables of Marksmanship during qualifying shooting drills for police officers. Three hundred and three officers agreed to participate in the study. Of the officers who chose to participate, 242 were male and 61 were female, 169 were Hispanic, 133 were non Hispanic, and two did not specify their ethnicity.
Independent t-tests or ANOVA with post hoc comparisons to compare differences in marksmanship score and stepwise multiple regression analyses were conducted to answer research questions and hypotheses. In addition, all measures were examined for reliability and validity. Exploratory factor analysis was conducted on the State Trait Anxiety Inventory (STAI) and resulted in three subscales (Calmness, Anxiety, Nervous/Jittery/Indecisive) and a 19 item revised STAI.
Findings indicated that (a) the age of police officers provided a "trend" explanatory variable of the Calmness subscale of the STAI; (b) the demographics of gender and age, in addition to police experience, provided a significant explanatory model of anxiety in police officers. Older male officers with more experience had more anxiety; (c) the demographics of gender and age, in addition to firearms experience (military experience) provided a significant explanatory model of the Nervous/Jittery/lndecisiveness subscale of the STAI; (d) the demographic of age provided a significant explanatory variable of the total 19-item scale. The best explanatory variables of marksmanship included race, handgrip strength, gender, ethnicity, temperature, blood pressure changes, and humidity. The range of variance in the best model was 11.4% to 13.5%. This indicated that white, Hispanic officers, with stronger dominant handgrip, cooler ambient temperature, lower humidity and with smaller changes in systolic blood pressure had higher marksmanship scores during qualifying shooting drills. Future researchers should conduct similar studies with populations from other regions around the country and the world in order to strengthen the external validity of findings.
Kennedy, Kelly, "Factors Influencing Police Officer Marksmanship During Qualifying Drills" (2009). Graduate-Level Student Theses, Dissertations, and Portfolios. 133.