The Academy Innovations research project is supported by the U.S. Department of Justice COPS Office. The project is designed to develop evidence-based training methods for the law enforcement industry. The goal of the research is to identify improved methodologies for the delivery of basic law enforcement training content.

Learn more about Academy Innovations from 2020/2021 IADLEST President Kim Vickers:



The Research

This project will attempt to evaluate if the methods and timing of how training content is delivered improves knowledge and skill retention at the basic academy level.
The experiment’s design will enable us to deliver one critical skill area and then, at predictable intervals, practice and reinforce that skill in different contexts. Using Communication Skills as our foundational content and critical skill area, our experiment is constructed to assess the effectiveness of delivering Communication Skills content and then, at defined intervals, reinforcing and integrating some of the same Communication Skills content  in two other lessons, specifically Motor Vehicle Stops and Persons with Mental Illness. We will also be working to determine the efficacy of this model in an in-person and an online format. Our research team will be collaborating with participating academies to effectively implement the experiment.


Interested in more details?  Check out this description of Research Design and Communication Skills Curriculum.



Academies in the U.S. are invited to apply to participate in the research. In particular we are seeking applicants from community college based academies, agency-specific/municipal academies, and state coordinated academies. Academies that have a dynamic, innovative, and flexible staff with an interest in cutting-edge research are strongly encouraged to apply.


Participating in this research will benefit the law enforcement field by establishing evidence-based training methods for basic academies that will ultimately improve recruit knowledge and skill retention. Participating academies will also receive national recognition for their involvement in innovating practice through research. Additionally, participating students will receive training content and instruction from a state-of-the-art communication skills curriculum. Students assigned to test groups may also experience improved retention of communication knowledge and skills.

How to Apply

To be considered as a potential participant, complete and submit the application form. The deadline to submit an application is Monday, February 15th at 11:59pm PST. Due to the current parameters of the experimental design, only three academies will be selected to participate at this time. All applicants will be notified of their status by Friday, March 5th. If you have questions about the research project or the application, please contact Dianne Beer-Maxwell.


This project was supported, in whole or in part, by cooperative agreement number 2020CKWXK049 awarded by the U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Community Oriented Policing Services. The opinions contained herein are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily represent the official position or policies of the U.S. Department of Justice. References to specific agencies, companies, products, or services should not be considered an endorsement by the author(s) or the U.S. Department of Justice. Rather, the references are illustrations to supplement discussion of the issues.