Improving Police Training Through Stress Studies
Kent State University Professor Will Kalkhoff, Ph.D., is studying the brain waves and heart rates of police officers during training exercises to help to improve police performance and increase safety.
Kalkhoff is a professor of sociology at Kent State. He is also the executive director of the Electrophysiological Neuroscience Laboratory of Kent and an executive committee member of Kent State’s Brain Health Research Institute. He recently conducted a study for the Kent City Police Department to see how a police officer’s performance is impacted by wearing a body camera.
This study used an electroencephalogram (EEG) cap and an electrocardiogram (EKG) monitor to observe the brain waves and heart rates of an officer as she participated in simulated training exercises. The MILO (Multiple Interactive Training Objectives) training system is used to prepare first responders and military personnel for situations they may encounter in the course of their duties.
“When we measure your brain waves, we can see if you’re relaxed, if you’re alert and we can see whenever you’re feeling more anxiety and a little more stress,” Kalkhoff said. “We also measured through the EKG, which is heart monitoring. You know when they would get a big jump in anxiety and they were stressed.”
Kalkhoff said the goal of this study for both the university and the police department is to save lives.
“This has probably been, hands down, the most rewarding experience of my career so far,” Kalkoff said. “It’s rewarding because of that feeling of being a part of a team – of making a positive difference in the world through research and education and applications.”
For more information, visit www.kent.edu/sociology.
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