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Shift Briefing Series: How the OODA loop improves decision-making

While the OODA loop can be used daily, it truly enhances tactical incident response


The Shift Briefing Series is designed to provide law enforcement officers with short training videos that will help make them smarter, safer and more efficient in daily operations and when responding to critical incidents. Group discussion questions are listed after each video to help solidify the topics and ensure the application is in line with your department’s mission and values.

This video addresses Colonel John Boyd’s OODA loop. OODA (Observe, Orient, Decide, and Act) is an information-processing tool that allows law enforcement to make faster and better decisions. This video covers each step and provides tips for more efficient use of the concept. While the OODA loop can be used daily, it truly enhances tactical incident response.

Questions to consider

  1. Why is it important to slow down?
  2. How can you practice getting more efficient using the OODA loop daily?
  3. Given the rapidly evolving events LEOs deal with, what policies/procedures should LEOs know well to assist with the decision phase (e.g., pursuit policy)?
  4. Why is it important to keep decisions simple?
  5. What immediate action drills should LEO practice on a routine basis?
  6. What does it mean to be “inside” another person’s OODA loop?

David Pearson recently retired as a lieutenant with the Fort Collins Police Services in Fort Collins, Colorado. He has been a police officer since 1990 and held several assignments as a sergeant and lieutenant. He has been a law enforcement instructor since 1996 and has taught a variety of topics to include officer safety, SWAT tactics, active shooter and incident command.

Since 2005, David has been an instructor for the National Tactical Officers Association (NTOA) and has taught classes on several disciplines. David’s focus has been in less lethal technology and tactics and he is the main instructor for the NTOA’s Less Lethal Instructor course. David has certified over 1,000 instructors in the United States and Canada in the less lethal course. Since 2013, he has served in the role of Less Lethal Section Chair for the NTOA.

In 2017, David started his company, Rocky Mountain Blue Line Consulting, LLC, and provides expert witness assistance and consulting. David has presented at the annual conferences for APCO, NSA, IACP, California Chiefs, Utah Chief’s and Utah Sheriff’s Association.

David is a two-time Medal of Valor recipient for his actions on patrol and SWAT. He also earned a Medal of Merit for his life-saving efforts during a major flood. He holds a master’s degree in organizational leadership.