Portrait of Dr. Lois James, the researcher who developed CBTSim
Dr. Lois James of the WSU College of Nursing

A simulator developed by a WSU College of Nursing researcher to help police officers recognize their biases has been certified by an international law enforcement training organization.

It’s only the second “implicit bias training” class to receive the Seal of Excellence from the International Association of Directors of Law Enforcement Standards and Training (IADLEST). The association sets standards for police training programs to ensure consistency across the country.

CBTSim, or Counter Bias Training Simulation, was developed by Dr. Lois James, an Assistant Professor at the WSU College of Nursing. Her co-investigator is Dr. Stephen James, Assistant Research Professor at the Elson S. Floyd College of Medicine at WSU.

CBTSim is a portable unit that uses full-sized video screens to present police officers with realistic scenarios where they’re required to make deadly-force decisions. The scenarios are based on 30 years of data, and “may elicit a response from the student based on their inherent biases and not from an actual threat presented,” noted the evaluators who awarded the Seal of Excellence to CBTSim. The simulation is followed by discussion and debriefing among the trainer and the participants.

“Receiving the IADLEST National Certification Program™ seal of excellence is a significant achievement for CBTsim,” Dr. Lois James said. “Requirements for certification are a firm grounding in scientific evidence on the training topic, as well as a rigorous plan for evaluating trainee progress. For an implicit bias training class to be stamped with this seal of approval is rare, and I hope will speak to the value of CBTsim for police departments nationwide.”

With the certification from the national training organization, CBTSim will be listed on a roster of approved training programs for police and sheriff’s departments across the country.

James developed CBTSim with support from the WSU College of Nursing and a grant from the university’s Office of Commercialization. She is currently marketing the training to law enforcement agencies nationwide.

Lois James, WSU Spokane College of Nursing, 509-324-7442, cell 509-385-9386, lois_james@wsu.edu