School of Education


Doctor of Philosophy in Education (PhD)


Breck Perry


Paramilitary training, procedural justice, stress-based training, esprit de corps, warrior officer


Education | Vocational Education


The purpose of this phenomenological study was to describe the experiences of instructors at paramilitary police training programs in Pacific State as they relate to procedural justice skills. Procedural justice, with its emphasis on citizen voice, dignity, and respect, has become the predominant policing approach in America. However, numerous studies conclude that the predominant police training approach, paramilitary police training, is ill-equipped to instill the skills necessary for police to employ procedural justice strategies. This hermeneutic phenomenological study described the experiences of instructors at paramilitary police training programs using social learning theory principles as a framework to answer the central research question, why do police training instructors continue to use paramilitary training approaches to teach the skills necessary to implement procedural justice? The twelve participants for this study were chosen using a purposeful sampling method from a pool of current instructors at police training facilities or individuals who have served as an instructor at a facility in the last five years. The data collection for this study consisted of three phases: Protocol writings, individual interviews, and a focus group. The thematic results of this study include seven primary themes: The system is working, paramilitary training is only part of a larger training whole, the importance of the instructor, situational opportunities to observe student behaviors, we are giving students mixed signals about the importance of procedural justice, and we can do better. Together, these themes reveal a perspective that, despite limitations, paramilitary police training remains an important police training tool for the instruction of procedural justice.