Improving Tactics, Training and Thinking (Podcast #12)

In this episode, I interview “The Tactical Philosopher,” Lou Hayes Jr.

Lou is a police detective, a member of the Virtus Group, and has been a full-time law enforcement officer in the Chicago area since 1998 (including 16 years working in SWAT). Currently his focus is on reinventing police training for the modern era. His bold efforts (and prolific writing) on the subjects of learning science, adaptive thinking, and problem solving have tremendous implications that extend far beyond the field of law enforcement.

You can read Lou’s work on his LinkedIn page, and follow him on Twitter.

Topics Discussed

  • Why the training of military and law enforcement, as well as public education, is based on outdated, Industrial-era thinking.
  • The importance of using learning science to effectively transfer experience from trainers to people who are making decisions.
  • “The Illinois Model” – a problem-solving/learning & decision-making process that Lou and his colleagues have developed.
  • Why slow, compassionate police work can be more effective than fast, aggressive work.
  • How dominant, psychologically combative techniques provoke negative responses from suspects and witnesses.
  • How the “Active Killer decade” pushed police training into a militarized mode.
  • Navigating the “gray areas” and using emotional intelligence (people skills) to achieve better outcomes in education, business, and other areas in addition to law enforcement.
  • Spectrum of approaches & outcomes vs. right/wrong checklists.
  • The Rules/Creativity spectrum – matching a mindset with the situation you’re in.
  • Why Adaptability is a key to success in law enforcement, business, and life.
  • How Adaptive Problem Solving hits the sweet spot between rules and creativity.
  • Teaching HOW to think, as opposed to WHAT to think.
  • The Doctor In SWAT School
  • “The Professor and The Caveman” analogy of brain function. Training to keep The Professor (cognitive function) from shutting down under stress (through conscious breathing and structured thought patterns), and helping The Caveman (subconscious/intuitive function) to act more rationally (through Recognition-Primed Decision Making).
  • The importance of emotional intelligence and social skills in daily life, and in improving community/police relations.
  • Countering the perception that empathy and compassion are signs of weakness.
  • Amanda Ripley’s book, The Unthinkable: Who Survives When Disaster Strikes – and Why
  • Daniel Modell’s article indicting “gotcha” police training.
  • Police are the last line of defense against complex problems that they aren’t being trained for.

Visual Aids





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