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Feb. 15, 2023

Ep. 010: The Psychology Behind Building Better Operators

Ep. 010: The Psychology Behind Building Better Operators

For this episode we are pleased to be joined by Lon Bartel, who offers his insights from the perspective of Law Enforcement training. Lon is the VP of Training & Curriculum at VirTra, based in Arizona. He is a former police officer with over 25 years of experience, qualified as a range and tactical instructor and a published author. He is currently embarking on a PhD in Performance Psychology.

Lon describes some of the systems in use across law enforcement, including the 360 degree system developed by VirTra, as well as the volumetric video technology. He describes how the training requirements differ for police and law enforcement officers, and how that shapes the training systems.

The focus is more on creating pressures through visual and non-visual cues, overloading the sensory systems in order to increase the training challenge. Lon goes on to explain how they aim to get away from ‘box ticking’ training to make time spent in the box a more rewarding experience, using applied psychology to enhance judgement and decision making for officers. A subject that is very much in the news in North America and the rest of the world.

As ever we are joined by our intrepid journalist Andy Fawkes from MS&T, who takes us through some of the more recent developments in the training and simulation world. The theme of international collaboration continues, as well as further moves to promote virtual learning and digitisation of the military.

Episode Sponsor: Improbable Defence

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Lon BartelProfile Photo

Lon Bartel

Vice President of Curriculum and Training

Lon Bartel is the Vice President of Training and Curriculum for VirTra, a leading-edge simulation and training company that provides training products and services within the Military and Law Enforcement space. He relies on over 20 years of law enforcement training experience to improve the performance of the officers and trainers he works with. He was recognized by the State of Arizona P.O.S.T. as a subject matter expert in both firearms and defensive tactics. He is a founding member of the Arizona Tactical Officers Association and a lifetime advisor. He is internationally certified as an instructor with the International Association of Directors of Law Enforcement Standards and Training, where he has won innovation awards. Mr. Bartel has presented at multiple conferences on performance under stress. These presentations were at the International Law Enforcement Educators and Trainers Association conference (2017, 2018, 2019, 2020, 2022), The International Law Enforcement Training Network, Law Enforcement Education Program (2020, 2022, and 2023), and Force Science Annual Conference (2020 and 2022).

Mr. Bartel earned his Master’s degree in Applied Exercise Science from Concordia University-Chicago and his Bachelor’s from Arizona State University in Exercise Sport Science with a concentration in physiology and biochemistry. He holds certifications with the National Strength and Conditioning Association and the National Academy of Sports Medicine. He has published peer-reviewed research exploring how weapons and holster combinations affect perception-response times in peace officers and investigating the performance envelope for officers transitioning between lethal and less-lethal weapon platforms.

Mr. Bartel is pursuing a Doctor of Philosophy in General Psychology with an emphasis in Performance Psychology. He is taking his experience with the physiological aspects of human performance and integrating it with his doctoral work in performance psychology. This multifaceted effort removes a silo approach that can plague high-stress/arousal human performance evaluations. His mission is to provide a holistic approach to fast and accurate decision-making and response for our military warfighters and law enforcement officers. Much of this work requires an objective look at the complex problems faced and how best to address them. The goal is to ensure the sanctity of life when possible in law enforcement while making our warfighters better decision-makers in combat.