Ethical Decision Making: Policing with Principled Insight is a thought-provoking eLearn course that explores the practice of decision making and the ethical principles that support effective policing. In one of its most impactful and rewarding endeavors to date, VCPI partnered with the USDOJ, COPS Office to create the Ethical Decision Making: Policing with Principled Insight program. As part of this larger initiative, this course stresses that police ethics are not just an after-thought or a means of discouraging bad behavior. Instead, ethics are a controlling insight that inform and guide police practitioners from an internal, personal capacity.This innovative eLearn course invites participants to join a 2500 year-old conversation on ethical decision making while exploring realistic, modern day challenges faced by policing professionals.

Recognizing that for policing professionals, public trust, integrity, and liability hinge on each and every decision, this is crafted as a concise and relevant course addressing the realities of policing in the 21st century.  Designed with the practitioner in mind, Ethical Decision Making: Policing with Principled Insight includes on-screen text, videos, and narration in a user-friendly eLearn environment that allows participants to start, stop, and resume the training based on their schedules.  Although it requires a minimum of 2 hours of uninterrupted run-time, participants should expect to spend approximately 4 hours completing this dynamic and timely course.

This tuition-free online training was developed by the Virginia Center for Policing Innovation (VCPI) and was originally supported Cooperative Agreement 2012-Ck-WX-K011 by the U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS).

Related COPS Resources

COPS Evaluation Brief No. 3: Creating a Culture of Integrity
Crime Prevention Research Review No. 10: Legitimacy in Policing
Racial Reconciliation, Truth-Telling, and Police Legitimacy
"That's Not Fair!" Policing and Perceptions of Fairness
The Case for Procedural Justice: Fairness as a Crime Prevention Tool
The State of Policing in the United States, Volume 1

Ethical Decision Making Syllabus.pdfEthical Decision Making Syllabus.pdf

The prevalence of “invisible wounds” among the veteran population is growing. One in five veterans who served in Iraq or Afghanistan experience post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) or major depression, but only half of those who need treatment seek medical help. Serious mental health challenges connected to military service such as depression, PTSD and anxiety have direct ties to substance abuse and homelessness, taking a heavy toll on those who have served. Law enforcement is often called to respond when a veteran is in crisis as they face significant challenges of reintegration into civilian society. 

The Introduction to Public Safety De-escalation Tactics for Military Veterans in Crisis course is designed to enhance the skills and capabilities of law enforcement officers and relevant first responders when encountering critical incidents involving veterans who may be in crisis.  The course aims to improve officer safety by providing students an understanding of PTSD and other challenging factors for veterans, provide proven verbal de-escalation techniques and reference to resources available to veterans to cope.

At the end of the course, the participant will recognize signs a person is a veteran and the multitude of factors that maybe impacting the veterans’ ability to reintegrate into their communities. Upon completion of the course, a participant will be able to practice multiple verbal de-escalation tactics to be used in crisis encounters with veterans to defuse potentially violent situations. 

The core curriculum is designed for direct dissemination to law enforcement practitioners and relevant first responders.

  • Pre-Assessment
  • Module 1: Veterans and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
  • Module 2: De-Escalation for Veterans in Crisis
  • Module 3: Interactive Assessment
  • Post-Assessment & Course Evaluation
  • Resources:

Introduction to Public Safety De-Escalation Tactics for Military Veterans in Crisis Tips from the Field.pdfIntroduction to Public Safety De-Escalation Tactics for Military Veterans in Crisis Tips from the Field.pdf

In 2013, the COPS Office reached out to the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) to provide assistance to the Newtown (Connecticut) Police Department in the aftermath of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting. Michael Kehoe, Newtown’s Chief of Police at the time, asked NAMI to write a guidebook for chiefs on how to safeguard officer mental health in the early days after a mass casualty event. He said that events like Sandy Hook rewrite the rules—for dealing with the media, for coordinating with other agencies, and for officer mental health. His hope was that other chiefs would benefit from the lessons he learned.

With Chief Kehoe’s leadership, NAMI convened an expert advisory group of police chiefs who had experienced mass casualty events in their communities, along with the mental health professionals who advised them, to gather lessons learned and guidance for other chiefs.  NAMI also sought guidance from numerous police leaders, mental health professionals, and trauma and media experts. The result is this e-Guide, which educates chiefs and command staff about officer mental wellness, provides steps to preparing for the mental health impact of a mass casualty incident, and walks them through the crisis and the aftermath.

While the lessons shared in this e-Guide focus on mass casualty events, traumatic experiences are an everyday event for police officers. Responding to car accidents, homicides, child abuse, domestic violence, and other negative events are part of the job. Personal accounts in the guide make clear that these incidents can build up and lead to mental health problems like depression, PTSD, alcohol abuse and even suicide.

While events like Sandy Hook have raised awareness of the challenges that officers face, the day-to-day impact of police work is much greater. Fortunately, there are many steps that law enforcement leaders can take now to build resilient agencies, whether or not they ever experience a mass casualty incident. There are also ways to prepare for the possibility of such an incident. This e-Guide can serve as a resource for agencies interested in getting started.

This interactive e-Guide is based on the 2016 written publication of the same name, which was funded by the Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS Office). The online version you are accessing has been created by the Virginia Center for Policing Innovation (VCPI) via cooperative agreement number 2018-CK-WXK001 awarded by the COPS Office.

Preparing for the Unimaginable.pdfPreparing for the Unimaginable.pdf

Supporting Your Mission: An Introduction to the National Police Foundation’s Law Enforcement Officer (LEO) Near Miss Reporting System is an interactive online course designed to provide participants with a basic awareness and understanding of the National Police Foundation’s LEO Near Miss reporting system funded by the United States Department of Justice, Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS Office).  LEO Near Miss is designed to save lives. It is a web-based system that allows law enforcement officers a means to anonymously share their personal experiences surviving near miss events so that other officers may apply the lessons learned when facing similar situations. 

In this introductory course, participants explore the impact and importance of near miss reporting and discover ways in which both individual law enforcement officers and entire organizations can use the system to help ensure their safety, and the safety of fellow officers. The course features video interviews with law enforcement practitioners currently engaged in near miss reporting, as well as examples of the types of near miss reports published by the National Police Foundation. It provides an overview of the purpose, features and benefits of using the system, which is accessed via the website

This tuition-free online training was developed about the National Police Foundation’s LEO Near Miss reporting system by the Virginia Center for Policing Innovation (VCPI) and was originally supported by cooperative agreement 2018-CK-WXK-001 by the U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Community Oriented Policing Services.