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.


Project Staus as of April 2021:

Six law enforcement basic training academies across the nation, in several different training settings (agency-run, community college based, and state-run—each of which represent a sampling of urban and smaller/rural law enforcement), have been selected as research partners. The experiment is being implemented in these sites in 2021 and early 2022. The findings of the research will be published at the conclusion of the project in late 2022.


If you have questions about the research project, 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.