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Public Proceedings

Webcast Critical Incident Response

June 2, 2022 9:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.

Primary site location:

Best Western Truro - Glengarry
150 Willow St
Truro, Nova Scotia

We will update this page and our calendar as more details become available.

Register here to attend proceedings in-person at the Halifax Convention Centre.

To listen to live audio from the proceedings, call 1-877-385-4099 (toll-free) and enter code 1742076, followed by the # sign.



Roundtable 1: Critical incident decision-making including stress management

This roundtable will address the following core themes:

  • Common psychological factors in critical incident decision-making;
  • Training critical incident decision-makers; and
  • The psychological and physiological impacts of stress on the performance of first responders and critical incident decision-makers.

Roundtable Members

  • Facilitator: Krista Smith, Legal Policy Officer, Research and Policy Team
  • Dr. Laurence Alison: Professor of Investigative and Forensic Psychology at the University of Liverpool in the United Kingdom, where he also received his PhD. He is a member of the Institute of Risk and Uncertainty, is Director of the Centre for Critical and Major Incident Psychology at the University of Liverpool, and is Chair in Forensic and Investigative Psychology. Dr. Alison was key psychological debriefer of over 460 critical incidents and has served as key advisor on over 200 major cases, as well on many key large-scale live exercises for multi-agency responders.
  • Dr. Judith Andersen: Associate Professor of Psychology and Affiliated Faculty of Medicine at the University of Toronto and the Director of the Health, Adaptation, Research on Trauma (HART) Lab at the University of Toronto Mississauga. Prof. Andersen is a senior scholar in the science of police use of force and de-escalation training. Her work, recognized by both the federal and provincial government, is being applied to shape police training practices in North America and Europe.
  • Supt. Wallace Gossen: Has been with York Regional Police (YRP) for 32 years and is currently the officer in charge of Operational Command. During this time, he has spent 24 years working with the Emergency Response Unit as an instructor, Team Sergeant, Tactical Commander and Critical Incident Commander (CIC). Wallace is the Chair of the Ontario Association of Chiefs of Police Emergency Preparedness Committee (OACP EPC) and Vice President of the Association of Canadian Critical Incident Commanders (ACCIC).
  • Dr. Matthew McAllister: Assistant Professor of exercise science and the director of the metabolic and applied physiology laboratory at Texas State University. His area of expertise is dealing with the impact of occupational stressors among tactical high stress occupations such as law enforcement officers and firefighters. Dr. McAllister has published over 40 peer reviewed studies; the majority of which involved interventions to improve cardiometabolic health and markers of performance.
  • Dr. Neil Shortland: Director for the Center for Terrorism and Security Studies (CTSS) at the University of Massachusetts Lowell and Assistant Professor in the Department of Criminology and Criminal Justice. Dr. Shortland has a Ph.D. from the University of Liverpool which examined the process of decision-making under conditions of high uncertainty. His research focuses on the role of individual differences, social factors, and cultural factors on the process of high-stakes decision-making.

Roundtable 2: Contextualizing critical incident response: risks and trade-offs

This roundtable will address the following core themes:

  • Is there a risk that increasing the focus on critical incident training and preparedness will have unintended consequences for other aspects of the police function? If so, can this risk be adequately addressed or mitigated?
  • How should competing priorities for emergency services training and resources be resolved;
  • What is the role of civil society in police training and resource allocation decisions?

Roundtable Members

  • Facilitator: Dr. Emma Cunliffe, Research and Policy Director
  • Dr. Judith Andersen: See biography above. 
  • Dr. Paula Di Nota: Received her Ph.D. in Psychology from York University in 2017, specializing in Brain, Behaviour, and Cognitive Sciences and affiliated with the world-renowned Centre for Vision Research. Paula is now applying her skills and knowledge in cognition and motor learning to understand how police officers learn and perform under stressful conditions as a Postdoctoral Fellow in the HART Lab at UTM. Paula's research has been published in top peer-reviewed journals in the fields of cognitive psychology and neuroscience, policing, and occupational health.
  • Dr. Benjamin Goold: Professor at the Allard School of Law who holds degrees in law and economics from the University of Tasmania, as well as a BCL and doctorate from the University of Oxford. His major research interests include privacy rights, the use of surveillance technologies by the police and intelligence communities, and the rhetoric and language of human rights. He has served as Specialist Legal Advisor to a major House of Lords inquiry into surveillance and data collection in Britain and is currently a member of the BC Information and Privacy Commissioner's External Advisory Board.
  • Dr. Kimmo Himberg: Retired at the end of 2021 as the Rector of the national Police University College, after having served the Police of Finland for over 30 years. Originally a natural scientist, Dr. Himberg also has a PGCert in Criminal Justice Management from the University of Birmingham, UK. He has provided expert services to several international law enforcement related organizations, including Interpol, UNODC, CEPOL and ENFSI.
  • Dr. El Jones: Assistant Professor in the department of Political and Canadian studies at Mount Saint Vincent University. She received her PhD from Queen’s University. Dr. Jones is a former poet laureate of Halifax, an award winning journalist, and received the Burnley “Rocky” Jones award from the Nova Scotia Human Rights Commission in 2016. Her work focuses on state violence in Canada.
  • Dr. Hunter Martaindale: Director of Research for the ALERRT Center at Texas State University. As part of his role, Hunter oversees ALERRT’s research into active attack response, police practices/training, use of force, decision-making, and the impact of stress on performance.


  • For documents related to the roundtables, visit the Research and Commissioned Reports page.
  • Visit the Roundtable webpage for more information on other discussions held to date. 
  • All timing, agendas, format and schedules are subject to change and will be updated here as required.


View Transcript

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