Enhancing Law Enforcement Skills: The Power of Kinesic Training with eTRAIN (Part 1)

Using Real-Life Body Camera Footage to Master Non-Verbal Communication and Improve Officer Safety

 May 17, 2024

Part 1 of The Power of Kinesic Training

Mastering Non-Verbal Communication in Law Enforcement

In law enforcement, officers rely heavily on more than just the words they hear. A suspect’s anxious glance or a witness’s sudden change in posture can offer crucial insights into their intentions or credibility. Recognizing these subtle non-verbal cues is not just a skill but a necessity for law enforcement. Body language often conveys far more than spoken words, and kinesic training, which focuses on reading and interpreting these non-verbal signals, can significantly enhance officers’ ability to differentiate between truth and deception during investigations.

However, traditional methods for detecting deception, such as polygraph tests or verbal cues, are only slightly better than chance (Levine, 2019). These methods often rely on the assumption that a liar will show signs of nervousness or inconsistency, which is not always the case. Newer approaches, such as the strategic use of evidence, diagnostic questioning, and persuasive honesty tactics, have shown promise in improving detection accuracy, making kinesic training an essential skill.

In recent years, technological platforms like eTRAIN have emerged to provide innovative solutions that help officers refine their body language reading skills through realistic scenarios and interactive digital training. This blog post explores the core principles of kinesic training and highlights critical strategies. It also demonstrates how platforms like eTRAIN offer law enforcement officers practical opportunities to enhance their observational and analytical abilities, making them feel more prepared and capable in their roles.

Understanding Kinesic Training

To understand kinesic training and its significance in law enforcement, it helps to start with the basics. Kinesic communication encompasses the study of body movements, facial expressions, gestures, and posture and how these nonverbal signals convey meaning. This training originated from psychology, and kinesics was popularized to understand human behavior and emotional states.

As an example, please watch the following video from the eTRAIN Platform. Officers are evicting a man (left corner of video) from his apartment. When the video begins, the man has grabbed a knife and barricaded himself with his dog in the kitchen.


How would you describe the man’s posture? How would you describe the dogs’? What parts of the man’s body language did you notice? Correctly answering these questions helps officers tactically respond to situations.

Significance in Law Enforcement

In law enforcement, the ability to accurately interpret these non-verbal cues can have significant implications during investigations and interviews. Detecting deception and assessing credibility can be challenging with traditional methods alone. According to Levine’s 2019 research, these conventional approaches are only slightly better than random guessing. However, modern kinesic training offers officers better strategies by focusing on using evidence, understanding content within context, and employing diagnostic questioning techniques.

Research Highlights

Recent research supports the effectiveness of kinesic training for deception detection:

  • Interactive digital games like VERITAS help train officers to identify reliable deception cues (Miller, 2019).
  • Short training on verbal and non-verbal deception cues improves the ability to detect deception (Dzida, 2022).
  • Kinesic training helps officers establish rapport, assess credibility, and build a baseline for interpreting deviations.

Understanding the foundational principles of kinesic communication helps officers become more adept at interpreting subtle behavioral shifts, providing valuable insight during interrogations and field operations. Recognizing the importance of continuous learning, advanced training programs like eTRAIN offer comprehensive and realistic scenarios for officers to practice and refine their skills in these crucial areas, fostering a sense of motivation and commitment to their professional development.

Fundamental Principles of Body Language Reading

Understanding the core principles behind body language reading is essential to effectively harnessing the power of kinesic training. Recognizing and interpreting these nonverbal signals can be crucial for law enforcement officers. Doing so allows them to better discern intentions, identify deception, and ensure their safety.

Overview of Body Language

Body language involves various forms of non-verbal communication, including:

  • Facial Expressions: These are often the most expressive indicators of emotions, from smiles signaling happiness to furrowed brows indicating confusion or concern.
  • Gestures: Hand and arm movements often complement or contradict spoken words, giving valuable clues about a person’s state of mind.
  • Posture: How someone stands, or sits can reflect their level of confidence, openness, or defensiveness.

Basic Elements:

  • Microexpressions are brief, involuntary facial expressions that reveal genuine emotions, often lasting less than a second. Detecting these microexpressions can help officers uncover hidden feelings that might not align with spoken words.
  • Eye Movements: The direction and movement of someone’s gaze can indicate whether they are recalling a memory, fabricating a response, or avoiding eye contact due to nervousness.
  • Hand Gestures: While certain gestures vary across cultures, some signals, such as wringing hands or clenched fists, often indicate anxiety or aggression.

Building a Baseline and Recognizing Clusters:

  • Baseline Behavior: Establishing a baseline involves understanding how a subject behaves when relaxed or truthful. This standard helps identify deviations that might indicate stress or deception.
  • Clusters of Behavior: Single cues are rarely definitive on their own, but clusters of behaviors often reveal patterns that suggest specific intentions or emotions. For example, avoiding eye contact, defensive body posture, and hesitant speech may signal discomfort or deceit.

Understanding these principles gives officers a strong foundation. Doing so allows them to distinguish between normal behavior and significant deviations that warrant closer attention. The next section (Part 2) will investigate how these techniques are applied in training programs like eTRAIN. In Part 2, law enforcement professionals can refine their observation skills through interactive, scenario-based exercises.

How Does eTRAIN help officers learn Kinesic Training

It is clear that the skills to read and interpret body language are more vital than ever for law enforcement officers. We have started to explore kinesic training here in Part 1 and its implementation through technological platforms like eTRAIN. The ability to discern truth from deception, understand hidden emotions and predict potential actions from non-verbal cues contribute to greater safety and more effective community interactions. These abilities also enhance the efficacy of police work overall. 

Stay tuned for Part 2 of this blog series. In it, we will delve deeper into specific training modules and techniques available on eTRAIN. We will discuss the practical application of these strategies in real-life scenarios. We will also explore how continuous learning and adaptation of new methods are shaping the future of law enforcement training. Join us as we continue to uncover the profound impact that advanced kinesic training can have on the capabilities and confidence of law enforcement professionals.