Steve “Pappy” Papenfuhs

We think our students deserve to be taught by highly experienced instructors like Sergeant Steve “Pappy” Papenfuhs (ret). During his 29-year law enforcement career with the San Jose Police Department in California, “Pappy” worked Patrol, Field Training Sergeant, Special Operations, Auto Theft, Sexual Assaults, Narcotics, Family Violence, and supervised the department’s in-service Training Division where he was responsible for the delivery of annual training to over 1,500 personnel. That vast experience means Pappy has the real-world experience needed to be a credible instructor. Steve is still very active in the law enforcement realm where now provides frequent expert testimony in use of force cases.

Pappy was instrumental in designing our Field Training OfficerField Training Officer Update and Field Training Program Supervisor courses, and continues to teach then today. Such course development includes conducting job task assessments, analyzing teaching and learning systems integration, and evaluating the retention and subsequent application of acquired knowledge, skills, and abilities. Part of the reasons our courses are so highly rated is that they are credible and based on the latest research available.

As a law enforcement, you know that police work is complex, inherently hazardous, and highly technical. We believe officers deserve high-quality training that will prepare them to operate in that challenging environment. Pappy helps us deliver on that! Pappy brings several unique qualities to our students including 1) his years of experience as a police academy trainer and Force Options Simulator instructor, 2) years of experience as a police-practices expert witness and 3) an extensive study of human performance and tactical decision making under stress.

Never satisfied with the status quo, Pappy spends countless hours conducting research and using that data to tweak our courses. Our students get the benefit of learning about the latest and greatest research from an instructor who knows how to make it make sense. For example, Pappy’s primary area of interest is the integration of contemporary research-based and evidence-informed practices in the art and science of cognition and learning. He translates that research into easily understood principles for our FTO students.

Pappy has had his work published in periodicals such as Law and Order as well as on Police1. In 2022, his work was mentioned in an important research project commissioned by the U.S. Department of Justice entitled The Current State of Police Control and Defensive Tactics Training (page 49). He was a guest presenter at the 2022 Naturalistic Decision-Making Conference where he presented on tactical decision-making training for law enforcement.

Pappy is often contracted to provide expert-witness analysis and testimony for use of force incidents. He was involved in basic academy curriculum for California POST for both Arrest and Control and Active Shooter Response. He was contracted to conduct an after-action review of the public safety response to the 2015 terrorist attack and the 2017 North Park Elementary School active shooter incident both in San Bernardino, CA. He is also a certified Force Science Analyst.

Although he has a ton of knowledge, training and experience, Pappy is squarely focused on our students and not himself. He is obsessed with helping students be high performers.

To catch Steve “Pappy” Papenfuhs in action, get registered for any of the following courses:
Field Training Officer
Field Training Officer Update
Field Training Program Supervisor

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