Last month, Dallas Police Chief David Brown issued a new policy, which gives officers involved in a shooting access to any videos of the incident and requires officers involved in the shootings to wait 72 hours before giving a statement to investigators.
The new policy has caused some to bristle, claiming that it will allow officers to close ranks in the thin blue line, thereby giving them time to make excuses or otherwise cover up actions in what may be a potentially unjustified shooting.
With over 25 years of experience in combative training for numerous federal agencies and private groups, I am intimately familiar with the hazards of giving testimony after a high stress critical incident, and I would like to share with you why I think this new policy is reasonable, not only for the police, but for every person who carries or intends to carry a firearm for personal protection.
Regarding Chief Brown’s new policy, what you need to know is that there has been a tremendous amount of study done in the field of human cognition and high-stress events, and there are a number of factors that come into play — not the least of which is how we remember when there is no stress placed on us — which is to say, most of us don’t remember as well as we like to believe we do.
Neuroscience tells us that humans are flooded with over 11 million bits of information per second, yet we only actually process about 50 bits per second on a good day.
This means we filter out most of the incoming information. The Autonomic Nervous System or “ANS” filters out whatever you have been trained to ignore, have not been trained to pay attention to, or don’t find important at the time.
In short, we tend to fixate on those things we think are important at the exclusion of most other things.