Click on the MEDIA heading above for a list of Dr. Artwohl’s media participation.


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In 1997, police psychologist Dr. Alexis Artwohl and police officer Loren W. Christensen wrote Deadly Force Encounters: What Cops Need To Know To Mentally And Physically Prepare For And Survive A Gunfight. It quickly became an authoritative book for police officers, citizens legally carrying a concealed firearm, and police academies.

The greatly expanded research, stories, and analysis in this second edition, Deadly Force Encounters, Cops & Citizens Defending Themselves and Others, focus on the most infrequent but most challenging part of the police profession: the use of deadly force. This book is not about specific laws, tactics, and equipment, but how the science of human performance influences the people behind the badge. This knowledge is crucial for physical, legal, and emotional survival.  

Citizens, armed or not, will also benefit from the information to help them survive when faced with violent threats. “When seconds count, the police are only minutes away.” If citizens use deadly force to survive, this book will help them prepare for the legal and emotional challenges of the aftermath.

Although the focus is about saving lives when threatened with violence, much of the information is relevant to people facing a wide variety of extreme events and everyday dangers.

All readers who want facts about violent encounters rather than myths and ill-informed hyperbole will find this book a useful reference. 

Chapter 1: Shootout with the Devil
Chapter 2: The Survival Triangle
Chapter 3: Community Policing
Chapter 4: Human Performance Factors
Chapter 5: Mindset
Chapter 6: Fear
Chapter 7: Responses to Handgun Wounds are Unpredictable
Chapter 8: Citizens: Force Multipliers
Chapter 9: Attention, Perception, and Memory
Chapter 10: Decision Making
Chapter 11: The Survival Bias in Decision Making
Chapter 12: Training
Chapter 13: Legal Survival
Chapter 14: Investigations and the Courtroom
Chapter 15: Short-Term Reactions to a Deadly Force Encounter
Chapter 16: Traumatic Stress Reactions
Chapter 17: Police Officers and Job Stress
Chapter 18: Organizational Stress
Chapter 19: Resiliency
Chapter 20: Impact on Families



Excerpts from review by Von Kliem, JD, LL.M at Force Science News   “With their latest book, Deadly Force Encounters, Second Edition, Dr. Alexis Artwohl and Loren W. Christensen present the much-anticipated update to their groundbreaking 1997 publication. Still focused on preparing cops ‘to mentally and physically prepare for and survive a gunfight,’ the authors’ second edition is thoughtfully expanded to include civilians who may suddenly find themselves in deadly force encounters. . .

The latest edition of Deadly Force Encounters is more than just expert training and procedural recommendations. With great skill, the authors contribute to some of the most controversial present-day police reform debates. They tackle head-on issues such as de-escalation, implicit bias, cultural sensitivity, and the guardian/warrior mindset. Even as Dr. Artwohl and Mr. Christensen confront the myths and misinformation that obscure policing and deadly force decision-making, they never lose sight of their primary objective—educating officers, courts, and community members on what they can realistically expect when perfectly imperfect humans are required to confront sudden and unrestrained violence. As the authors pull back the curtain and expertly guide readers into the unforgiving world of violence, they introduce us to some of the most accomplished researchers, attorneys, and police trainers. . .

The topics are complicated, serious, and important—but the book was written in a style that is entertaining, educating, and easy to understand. Dr. Bill Lewinski, executive director of the Force Science Institute, said, ‘Deadly Force Encounters is the product of the many decades Dr. Artwohl spent helping officers survive working on the edge, both during and after critical incidents. This latest work with Loren Christensen continues that investment into the officers and the profession to which she has dedicated so much of her life. . . Like her, the work is brilliant and insightful yet practical and helpful.’ “

Review by Scott Buhrmaster, CEO of Calibre Press   “To say that Dr. Alexis Artwohl, who ranks as one of the most influential and iconic figures in law enforcement training, and seasoned law enforcement veteran and award-winning author, Loren W. Christensen, make a powerhouse team is truly an understatement. Their combined knowledge, endless dedication and extraordinary ability to cover virtually every topic associated with deadly force in a thorough, understandable fashion is beyond impressive. If you carry a firearm, either in the course of your sworn professional duties or for civilian personal defense, or you’re an attorney involved in deadly force cases you simply must own–then read and re-read–this book. Once you see it, there is no doubt you will agree this 500+ page treasure chest of information is a resource you cannot afford to be without.”

Foreward by Laurence Miller, Ph.D., clinical, forensic, and police psychologist, and author of the book The Psychology of Police Deadly Force Encounters  “Already a classic, the second edition of Deadly Force Encounters expands and deepens the empirical, theoretical, and practical knowledge base of police deadly force encounters for the challenges of the 21st Century.  Written by co-authors who skillfully combine in-depth scholarship with on-the-street experience, this is an authoritative guide that every law enforcement supervisor, policymaker, and rank and file cop should be familiar with and have on hand for day-to-day guidance.  You won’t just read this book; you’ll deploy it as a vital work tool to make you safer, smarter, and more resilient in the complex and sometimes contentious climate of modern policing. In a field often plagued with subjective impressions, anecdotal mythology, and political agendas, this volume stands out as a science-based practical guide to understanding, preparing for, enduring, and recovering from a law enforcement deadly force encounter with your safety and sanity intact.” 

Review by Massad Ayoob , firearms expert, trainer, and author of multiple books and articles “To my mind, ‘must-read’ is a greatly over-used term in book reviewing so I use it as sparingly as I can. When the first edition of Deadly Force Encounters came out, I considered it a must-read. The Portland (OR) Police Bureau has produced many fine alumni. Two of them are Dr. Alexis Artwohl, one of their consulting police psychologists, and Loren Christensen, a legendary street cop who spent much of his career in the worst, toughest part of town. Their combined insights were what made the book great. Alexis’s most important contribution was her insight into the perceptions and the emotional aftermaths of officers she debriefed and treated after they were forced to shoot people in the line of duty, and occasionally got shot themselves. I’ve corresponded with Loren though we’ve never met face to face. Alexis and I have taken one another’s classes and served on some of the same boards and discussion panels. I can you they are both the Real Deal, and yes, those capital letters are warranted. The second edition of Deadly Force Encounters is even better than the first. in no small part because this edition embraces the armed citizen as well as the law enforcement officer. I’ve always considered the two to be natural allies, despite the forces on both ends of the political spectrum which try to set them against each other. It would be very much worth your time to have this book on hand and share it with friends who are fellow armed citizens, or past or present peace officers.”

Review  in Lexipol from attorney and law enforcement officer Chief Ken Wallentine “Two decades ago, Dr. Alexis Artwohl and Officer Loren Christensen brought essential understanding about an officer’s decision use deadly force in the first edition of Deadly Force Encounters. In addition to the professional respect I have for their second edition of Deadly Force Encounters, I count Dr. Artwohl a true friend who continues to help cops survive and thrive after deadly force encounters. She freely shares her expertise and clinical experience to advance the understanding of the complexities of deadly force encounters. So, it’s no surprise that I highly recommend the new edition of their book!”

Excerpts from lengthy review by Gila Hayes of the Armed Citizens Legal Defense Network Inc.  “Although both authors worked in law enforcement, this is not exclusively a police book. . . The book draws on a wide array of scholarly research, combined with experiences from the authors’ careers as a police psychologist and a police officer, to teach about how use of deadly force affects people.s worked in law enforcement.  Do not be put off by the police-oriented anecdotes. Police use of force incidents are documented in excruciating detail while self defense by citizens is often no-billed with little publicity generated, so the facts are not publicized or recorded for posterity. Many of the aftermath issues, while not identical, are definitely parallel. . . The second edition of Deadly Force Encounters is a long book, containing many thought-provoking topics. Highly recommended!”


Legendary law enforcement writer Chuck Remsberg interviewed Dr. Alexis Artwohl about the chapter on resiliency in her book, DEADLY FORCE ENCOUNTERS, SECOND EDITION, co-authored with Loren W. Christensen. Read Remsberg’s article, The Art of Bounding Back: 7 Keys to Unshakable Resiliency, at Calibre Press, a public safety training company serving law enforcement since 1980.