U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government, Department of Justice.

Deadly Force Encounters: What Cops Need to Know to Mentally and Physically Prepare for and Survive a Gunfight

NCJ Number
A Artwohl; L W Christensen
Date Published
262 pages
Because many police officers indicate the aftermath of a deadly force encounter has more traumatic effects on family and career than the actual encounter, this book shows police officers how to stay alive when faced with a kill-or-be-killed situation and how to survive the personal and professional aftermath.
The book was written for police officers who have used or may have to use deadly force and for police administrators, chaplains, and mental health professionals who need to know about the effect of trauma on police officers. Aims of the book are to increase awareness of general issues that are relevant to deadly force encounters and to offer suggestions on how police officers can survive a shooting and its aftermath. The book is divided into three sections. The first section examines the many facets of fear and ways to deal with it. The second section includes personal stories of police officers who have killed in the line of duty. The third section is devoted to the aftermath of a deadly force encounter, especially the healing process. The book focuses on critical debriefs, family support systems, training scenarios, and real-world accounts from police officers who have survived deadly force encounters and their aftermath. The following components of a police trauma survival program are identified: physical training, psychological survival skills, legal and administrative survival skills, mental health fitness training, peer support, family member education, and employee assistance programs.