Moments after completing a traffic-stop training, Hillsboro Police Officer Dave Morse remembered clearly that the "suspect" suddenly pulled out a semi-automatic pistol.
But what he didn't remember is a key component of a national study recently conducted in Hillsboro that drew more than 90 police officers from 22 agencies in Oregon and Washington.
Morse didn't remember flinching or hearing shots. He didn't remember dashing behind a vehicle for cover, or jumping out to fire shots. It wasn't until he watched a video of his performance that he realized the discrepancy between his memory and what actually occurred.
The way high-stress incidents affect an officer's memory is part of the study funded by the Force Science Institute, a nationally recognized research center based in Mankato, Minn. Simply dubbed, "The Traffic Stop Study," the research was coordinated by the Hillsboro Police Department's training team and Force Science, and was documented by the Canadian Discovery Channel.
After traumatic incidents, some officers remember things that didn't happen. Some don't remember things that did happen. Others confuse the sequence of events.
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