Greg Smith and Associates, Criminal Defense Attorneys

Salt Lake City (Murray)
Free 15 Min. Consultation  :  Nights & Weekends  :  Easy Payments

801-651-1512  -  24/7

Free 15 Min. Consultation 24/7

801-651-1512

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Office Location

Salt Lake City Office
111 E. 5600 S. #105
Murray, UT 84107

Telephone: 801-651-1512
Fax: 801-255-2134
Salt Lake City Law Office Map



Study: Cops Fuzzy on the Facts After Chases or Altercations


A recently published study in the journal Psychological Science indicates that law enforcement officers are prone to forget events which occur after a chase or altercation with a suspect. Researchers found that officers who engaged in at least a minute of intense physical exercise shortly before an arrest remembered few details of the arrest. This finding is crucial because it is often the testimony of these officers which supports the basis of a defendant's conviction.

"Police officers are often expected to remember in detail who said what and how many blows were received in the midst of physical struggle or shortly afterwards," the study's lead officer said. "The results of our tests indicate it may be very difficult for them to do this."

The study is prompting changes at some police departments. Officers are being instructed that it is okay to admit that they do not remember the details of an encounter and that this memory lapse is not due to inattention or lack of will, but rather indicative of natural physical limitations.

"Ultimately, memory is determined by what we can process and attend to," the lead study author said. "As exhaustion takes over, cognitive resources tend to diminish. The ability to fully shift attention is inhibited, so even potentially relevant information might not be attended to."

The study was conducted using 52 Winnipeg police officers who were all employed for at least eight years and considered fit and healthy. The officers were briefed on three robberies and shown a picture lineup. One group of officers then rigorously used a punching bag until they were visibly tired and the other group did not. Both groups then went through a scenario involving a hostile verbal confrontation with an arrestee in a realistic home environment that included weapons.

The group of officers who underwent physical exertion before confronting the potential arrestee had vastly diminished recall capabilities in subsequent memory tests regarding the initial briefing, lineup pictures and arrest scenario. CNN reports that 90 percent of the officers who did not go through physical exertion before the arrest scenario could remember at least one detail about the arrestee whereas barely a third of the officers who used the punching bag could remember details about the arrestee.

The officers who did not undergo physical exertion before the arrest scenario were twice as likely to correctly identify the arrestee in a lineup and remembered significantly more details than the officers that underwent the punching bag exercise before the arrest.

Experts believe that this groundbreaking study will have implication in law enforcement training and criminal defense cases throughout Canada and the United States, and likely spur future research into officer memory retention.

Clients with disabilities or impairments

Access to our office is available to clients and their family members at all times. Special equipment and communication devices are available upon request for our clients with visual, hearing, speech and physical impairment. In addition, arrangements can be made for verbal or sign language interpreters if needed to communicate between our attorneys and the client and family. Please notify our law office if any additional accommodations related to your disability or impairment are necessary to make your consultation more comfortable.

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We Can Help You Now

Call 801-651-1512   Call Now 24/7 Free Consultation: 24/7, nights & weekends
Typically No Retainer - Easy Payments!*

Use our secure private form

I have read the disclaimer.

Feedback From Satisfied Clients

"The domestic violence and DUI crimes that I was charged with would have ruined my career. Thank you for saving me! You are worth every penny I paid you."

More Testimonials >

Avvo Clients' Choice Award. 5 Stars
5 Star Rating


   Review Us On Google

Office Location

Salt Lake City Office
111 E. 5600 S. #105
Murray, UT 84107

Telephone: 801-651-1512
Fax: 801-255-2134
Salt Lake City Law Office Map




Greg Smith and Associates, Criminal Law Attorneys, located in Salt Lake City (SLC), also represents clients from communities such as Provo, Orem, Payson, Ogden, Park City, Sandy, Draper, West Valley City, Bountiful, Murray, West Jordan, Taylorsville, Farmington, Alta, Bluffdale, Cottonwood Heights, Draper, Herriman, Holladay, Midvale, Murray, Riverton, Sandy, South Jordan, South Salt Lake, Taylorsville, West Jordan, West Valley City and Richfield; and counties including Salt Lake County, Summit County, Tooele County, Sevier County and Davis County, Utah.

Typically No Retainer - Easy Payments. *Call for details.


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