David Blake puts the Human Factor in Law Enforcement

Alumnus David Blake opens his own consulting company specializing in teaching & expert witness work on the topic of human factors and police performance.

David Blake

Alumnus | Criminal Justice Management

Retired police officer and a Union Criminal Justice Management alumni David M. Blake, M.Sc., F.S.A., C.C.I. believed he could make a positive difference in law enforcement. That is why he opened his own consulting company specializing in teaching / expert witness work on the topic of human factors and police performance.

“As a working police officer, I have always had a great deal of passion for not only the practical, but also the academic aspects of policing. More specifically, I have a long history of studying human factors science and its inclusion within police performance during high stress critical incidents such as a use of force,” said Blake. “This area is vital to policing (in my opinion) in regards to policy, procedure, training, and after action review. It is also an area often ignored. It was my passion for the inclusion of the science in the policing world that led to opening a consulting company and engaging in teaching / expert witness work on the topic of human factors and police performance.”

Blake points out that Human Factors science is used in many professions. “Human Factors science encompasses several areas of psychology and ergonomics and has evolved to include many areas. The science is primarily concerned with human performance within a system. Human Factors science concerns itself with the capabilities and limitations of a human (cognition, vision, reaction time, motor performance, etc.) and how those human aspects apply to job tasks, tools, and performance within the environment,” said Blake. “The science is used in many industries such as; aviation, medicine, nuclear, and transportation. My hope is that law enforcement will fully consider Human Factors science in policy, procedure, training, and after action performance review.” 

The lack of Human Factors science often leads to harsh judgments made in high stress situations. “Most people do not consider how officers function under stress or what human factors (eg: vision, cognition, reaction time) led to their perceptions and performance. These very human aspects should always be considered when reviewing police performance in high stress environments,” said Blake. “Officers are fallible, function at the level of their training, and performance is dictated by human capabilities and limitations. For instance, the public does not consider that it takes three camera views and several officials in many sporting events to make a ruling on what happened on the field, yet the expectation is for police to perform to inhuman standards under the same rapidly evolving, tense and uncertain situations that one might find in high intensity sport.”

Blake is a 2010 Union Institute & University Criminal Justice Management Degree graduate. He thinks the critical thinking skills associated with the degree are crucial to a successful career in law enforcement. “The admissions process, the accreditation, and the acceptance of previously earned credit were all an important part of choosing Union. Once admitted, I found the coursework to be on point and interesting,” said Blake. “I highly recommend Union.” “The most important aspect of having an advanced degree is the critical thinking skills learned in higher education. Skills such as analyzation, interpretation, application and evaluation are paramount to a successful career in law enforcement. I highly recommend a Bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice for all law enforcement officers,” said Blake.

Union Institute & University’s major in Criminal Justice Management is a nationally recognized degree program designed to advance the careers of law enforcement personnel into supervisory, management, and executive positions within the criminal justice system.

Learn more about Union’s Criminal Justice degree program