Campus Location

Dallas Campus (Online)

Date of Award



Document Type



Organizational Leadership

Degree Name

Doctor of Education

Committee Chair or Primary Advisor

Robert Haussmann

Second Committee Member or Secondary Advisor

Timothy Atkinson

Third Committee Member or Committee Reader

Dean Campbell


Recently, law enforcement officer use of force incidents resulting in death has seemingly become more prevalent. Generally, the educational requirement for a law enforcement officer is a high school diploma or general education development degree. One must question if this requirement is sufficient for a law enforcement officer to be successful in a modern world as the law enforcement training academy may be the law enforcement officer’s only postsecondary education. Critical thinking is a needed skill identified by high-stress professions such as the military, nursing, and disaster management, yet there is limited study regarding critical thinking in law enforcement. The purpose of this research study was to assess the efficacy of law enforcement training academies to prepare cadets to pass a state licensing examination successfully and prepare cadets to think critically upon entering their careers as law enforcement officers. This qualitative research study employed a transcendental phenomenological approach interviewing law enforcement officers with at least five years’ experience assigned to the patrol division of their agency. Participants were recruited from law enforcement agencies in the western region of Texas. Once consent was obtained, participants were scheduled for interviews. Interviews were completed using predeveloped interview questions designed to address the two research questions for this study. Interviews were transcribed, and the resulting data were analyzed utilizing the modified van Kaam method of phenomenological data analysis. This research study learned law enforcement training academies attended by participants focused on cadets’ passage of the state licensing examination and imparted limited critical thinking skills to cadets. These academies delivered information through a lecture-based teaching methodology with little hands-on application, which may explain the deficit in critical thinking skills.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.



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