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PPSC Staff Profile - Police Deadly Force Expert Witness

Thomas J. Aveni, MSFP

PPSC Executive Director


Forensic Behavioralist, Deadly Force Expert


Tom Aveni has been a career law enforcement officer, having served on the local and state levels in three states (NJ, UT, NH). His police career began in 1978, and he has served as a police trainer since 1983. From 1990 to 2001 Tom served as a police "Training Coordinator" with the once prestigious Smith & Wesson Academy. There he was instrumental in training over 12,000 police and military personnel from across the United States and 23 other countries.

Mr. Aveni achieved his undergraduate degrees in Criminal Justice while minoring in psychology. At the graduate level Tom migrated toward Clinical Psychology when he began looking more closely at the perceptual and cognitive issues salient to police applications of deadly force. He received his Master’s Degree in Forensic Psychology from American International College, Springfield, MA.

Since 1995, Mr. Aveni's police training focus became oriented toward researching so-called “questionable” police shootings. These shootings routinely involve suspects who were unarmed and non-assaultive when shot by police. Previous studies had suggested that 25-43% of police shootings are of unarmed suspects. In this pursuit, Tom also examined the influence of behavioral and contextual cues that heavily influence an officer's inclination to use deadly force. His acclaimed and ground-breaking experimental research within this realm ("A Critical Analysis of the Police Use of Deadly Force Under Ambiguous Circumstances.") has just been published and can be freely accessed as a PDF file.

Mr. Aveni has been credited with being the first deadly force researcher to elucidate the strong correlation between so-called "contagious fire" incidents and adverse light conditions. Tom's research into "questionable" police shootings has also contributed to the creation and advancement of the first (1995) and most comprehensive low light instructor training program ever offered. By 1998, Tom's low light instructor training was being taught internationally.

Today, Mr. Aveni lectures nationally, presenting “Deadly Force Management,™” a seminar focused specifically upon contemporary police deadly force issues and "Surviving the Nightshift,™" a seminar focusing directly upon a diverse range of occupational safety issues pertinent to working at night. Tom has also been a frequent contributor to several law enforcement publications, such as Law & Order Magazine, Police & Security News, The Trainer, and others. He is the author of a series of authoritative “Surviving the Nightshift™ articles focused upon enhancing the occupational safety for shift-working officers.

In 2001, Mr. Aveni co-founded the Police Policy Studies Council, a multi-disciplinary organization that brings together the diverse talents of clinicians, physicians and police practitioners in an ongoing effort to elucidate complex criminal justice issues. He currently serves as the Executive Director of PPSC.

Tom served 26 years as a sworn police officer and retired in 2014. He can be reached at:

(413) 575-8026    Mobile

(603) 592-5002    Office
(603) 386-6007    Fax
tom@theppsc.org   E-Mail

  • Mr. Aveni's CV can be viewed HERE
  • Consultant Fee Schedule may be accessed HERE
  • Consultant Agreement Form may be accessed HERE