Publication Date

Spring 2017

Document Type

Project Summary

Degree Name

Doctor of Education



First Advisor

Brian Vivona, Ph.D.

Second Advisor

Donald Culverson, Ph.D.

Third Advisor

Susan Gaffney, Ph.D.


This project explored law enforcement decision-making through the review of decision-making literature, consideration of the Critical Decision Model (CDM), and semistructured interviews with law enforcement officers. In 2016, the Police Executive Research Forum (PERF) recommended the adoption and use of the CDM by law enforcement officers as a new way to approach tactical decisions. A review of the CDM suggests a linear, rational, weighing of options by officers. While this may be an excellent tool for slowly developing situations, for pre-mortems, or for debriefing, the CDM step four (identify options and determine best course of action) and step five (act, review, and reassess) create a gap in the understanding of the model use as they are not supported by the literature in describing how experts actually make decisions specifically, under tense, uncertain, and rapidly evolving circumstances. This project led to the framework of a new training intervention to address this gap in model use; the Intuitive Decision-Making: Engagement, Agency, and Leverage (ID:EAL) Model. The ID:EAL Model training intervention could provide law enforcement officers with a foundational understanding of decision-making and empower them with the knowledge to make, understand, and improve decisions under the inchoate, emergent situations they encounter. Additionally, this project identified the CDM as a tool for critical reflection that supports the ID:EAL Model development as a training intervention and further exploits training and experience in moving an officer toward the goal of improved decision-making.