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Training Our Cops For Combat

Training Our Cops For Combat

SWAT Digest

I went to the police academy in the mid-1980s and it wasn’t uncommon for the instructors to put their hands on me. One – and this was a guy I genuinely admired – used me as a punching bag to demonstrate elbow blitzes on. During in-service training in the early ’90s, I was used as the guinea pig for demonstrating brachial stuns / thumps (cracked my neck well though).

Some one-and-a-half to two decades later and our police academy curriculums have been expanded to include more law classes; increased report writing training times; courses on racial sensitivity, and more. You can rest assured that every police cadet today is receiving plenty of training on conflict resolution, anger management, and liability management.

The problem with that is that we’re so busy teaching our law enforcement professionals to evaluate and re-evaluate when they use any level of force, that when circumstances require them to respond to an act of war with maximum violence, they’re going to be stuck re-evaluating circumstances while they should be pulling the trigger.

Now, real quick, let me use someone else’s definition of “war” to justify my position. Let me use someone who might carry some level of respect in the world of combat and warfare… Carl Von Clausewitz:

" War therefore is an act of violence intended to compel our opponent to fulfil our will."

I may be wrong about plenty of things, but using that definition, it seems clear to me that terrorist attacks of any kind are acts of war. Since, in this country, we have labeled terrorism a crime, our law enforcement professionals will have to respond to these acts of war. Are we properly training them to function properly – to survive and emerge victorious – under conditions of war? The answer is very obviously no.

To properly prepare our law enforcement professionals we first have to change how we select and hire them. I personally don’t care what gender, race, culture, etc that you are if you want to be a cop. What I DO care about is that you:

> Are committed to the United States, our Constitution, and our laws. > Are not against the use of lawful violence (for any reason) to protect and defend, protect and serve, or subdue and arrest as necessary to enforce the laws. > Have the courage to overcome your fear, or function in spite of it, to move toward the acts of violence as required to fulfill your duty to protect others. > Have the courage to, without hesitation or pause, commit acts of violence against those who would commit acts of violent aggression against any American. > Are fit enough, and dedicated to maintaining an adequate fitness level, to function in, survive and emerge victorious from a combat action. > Are smart enough to know the difference between domestic crime and terrorist attacks. > Are quick-witted enough to beat your opponents OODA cycle so that you stand a better chance of winning the conflict.

Once we’ve selected appropriate candidates, they need to be subjected to rigorous training to test their emotional strength and stability. While working the street they will be called nasty names; they will be attacked; they will be demeaned in many ways. If they can’t tolerate such things in the relatively non-threatening atmosphere of a criminal justice academy, how can we realistically expect them to survive and function through it on the street?

The academy training should always include courses that are the norm such as Constitutional Law, Report Writing, Arrest Procedures, Fingerprinting, etc. But they should also include courses on basic anatomy in addition to basic first-aid. Recruits who may one day face a homicidal maniac – or a homicidal maniac terrorist – in hand to hand combat should know how to cripple him; should know how to maim him; should know how to remove his ability to see, stand or breath. Such a statement makes law enforcement administrators cringe from the impending liability civil suits. I say this:

Continue >>


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  • Fp-183_max50

    Paladin3087

    over 3 years ago

    40 Comments

    Exactly our point Rick, we need to be fully equipped to handle whatever problems arise. And we know if it’s a big deal and the military will be called out, we need to be as closely related and integrated into their response continuum so that the transition when they arrive on scene is a smooth one. I would say that a majority of police across this nation are former military in one aspect or another so it’s not a hard leap for us. Just give us the equipment we need to stay safe and handle the job( And that we already know how to use). Better to have it and not need it than to need it and not have it. A good defense is a better offense than your opponents.

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    patrickalders1

    over 3 years ago

    244 Comments

    I beg to differ with this article about the military not being used if it got bad enough Army and Air National Guard would be used to assist law enforcement in terrorist scenerio as this suggest. National guard assisted in restoring law and order after Katrina in Louisana. The regular military componets couldnt be used unless the president authorized to do so, this falls under Posse Comatius which again the branches of the National Guard would be activated. If law enforcement faced full on combat such as the military might face overseas as this article suggest they would be overwhelmed probably begging for the Army and Air National Guard.

    -Rick

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    ppupatrol

    over 3 years ago

    442 Comments

    Again, JHall41...you are picking out things, pointing fingers at police. Not really what someone pro-police does. We work in a hostile environment every day, and arm-chair quarterbacks always know all the right answers to what we should have done. On 4-4-09, 3 Officers in my city (Mayhle, Kelly, Sciullo) were killed by a madman with an assault rifle. It was a domestic disturbance call. They were ambushed. 12-6-09, another Officer from Penn Hills (Crawshaw) was killed with an assault rifle, on a domestic disturbance call, before he even got out of the vehicle. 1-13-10, A Pennsylvania State Trooper was killed with a high powered rifled while approaching a house on a domestic disturbance call. That's just the 3 most recent events in my city. The bad guys have assault rifles, what makes you think police should not? You cannot win a gunfight with a pistol against an assault rifle. The only reason a police officer should have a pistol is so he can fight his way back to his rifle. Period. You can dig for articles of police mishaps and misconduct, and find plenty. Police are people too. You can dig for the same about military, and find the same things. My unit in the Army lost a guy loading a .50 cal into the back of a 2 1/2, and it was loaded. But you don't go and say "military shouldn't have .50 cal's now" It's ridiculous what you are saying. You haven't a clue what is going on in the world today. So, you keep digging for articles to support your cause, against police being better trained and equipped, and I'll go back to keeping you safe, so you can continue to do what it is you do.

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    revCCBeasley

    over 3 years ago

    2944 Comments

    It is a good article and I have been on both sides of the war, Officer in a civilian mode and a Vet in a war and peace keeping mode. In the civilian mode I use many of the tactics learned in the military mode. I admit that in the civilian mode I hestiated more than I liked. Hesitate and be killed in WAR, do not hesitate in civil matters and get sued or jailed because the ROE is so different. Still one bullet used is one bullet used and it is the same deadly force. There is not shade in my reasoning, but the US courts can come up with plenty shade putting many LE in harms way.

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    mucholucho

    over 3 years ago

    214 Comments

    I am almost finished with the Academy and will start Field Training in about a month. Although I obtained good DT training, firearm, tazer, oc spray and asp baton, I know that my training needs to be ongoing and as "real life" as possible. Honestly my work history falls more on the customer service/public servant type of experience. But one thing is clear to me now that I am almost finished with the Academy, I have to be a Warrior at ALL TIMES and basic recruit training is not sufficient to be a WARRIOR protecting my community. My department like many, doesn't have the funds, time, or resources to train officers to be warriors. It is now my responsibilty.
    Great article!

  • Usmc_rifle_team_match_max50

    jhall41

    over 3 years ago

    70 Comments

    Here’s another one to add to the training classes. Lots of good details to review but none of them replaces pure negligence as the main factor. The Glocks have had a high incident report since their first issue. Accidental discharges went way up and officers were sent back to retrain with them. Reports still reflect a higher accident rate especially while under stress. Although we will never know what really happened the fact is that an unarmed person was killed accidentally by a police gun. From my experiences with Glocks, I would say the finger was on the trigger and the trigger lever was pressed in leaving it sensitive to backward movement along with movement of the middle finger in activating the light. Indexing should have been automatic when the hand was placed on the grip. Even though he was no billed on criminal charges the civil suits will surely follow and be successful. The officer will have to live with this the rest of his life no matter what else happens.
    http://www.dallasnews.com/sharedcontent/dws/news/city/collin/plano/stories/011111dnmettrigger.6e67dc.html

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    USLawman1983

    over 3 years ago

    1572 Comments

    Awesome article!!! As warriors, we shall never perish from the earth.

  • Usmc_rifle_team_match_max50

    jhall41

    over 3 years ago

    70 Comments

    Paladin3087 you are absolutely correct in the spelling of Fallujah. Looks like I have fallen victim to my auto spell check. It did not recognize Fallujah. My apologies for the typo. Good catch.
    “The military has more control, accountability and discipline over their weapons and personnel than the typical police organizations do"...how do you know this?
    I see examples supporting this statement on a regular basis. Admittedly, some departments do a very good job and deserve just credit but it’s the others that are of concern. Probably I would just point the articles on lost LE firearms from federal to local organizations just for 2010. One federal agency found over thirty federally issued hand guns missing during a recent audit. The details of ensuing investigation proved to be really interesting. Another weapon was reported stolen on the heels of that incident and an all-out search was initiated. Found three days later on a known drug dealer. Two other unrelated incidents have to do with SWAT gear not being properly secured by the training NCO’s at city and county departments after the training sessions. Both had their car trunks jacked while stopping to eat while off duty. These two back to back incidents resulted in the loss of police radios, vests, munitions, full auto MP5’s, M-16’s, M-4’s and other gear. No report of any items being recovered to date. Another example would be the issuing of full auto weapons to local SO’s and small town PD’s. These weapons are issued after a short training course (fam-fire) and are paid for out of the seized asset fund. Officers do not have any military or other experience in some cases and the weapons are not secured with some even being taken home at night in POV’s. I have not found out who is responsible for regular audits of these small agencies and with budget cuts they are probably working shorthanded Like everyone else. Way too many to post here. Haven’t even got to the safety violations yet.

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    rsmith6322

    over 3 years ago

    1088 Comments

    Flame wars asside,excellent article.

  • Usmc_rifle_team_match_max50

    jhall41

    over 3 years ago

    70 Comments

    Let me clarify a few things in response to some of the challenges presented. Other concerns and observations will be addressed in following posts. Let me be perfectly clear about a few things. First off, I do not hate cops as I have been accused. I do hold dearly those tenants set forth in the Constitution of the United States and those of my state constitution. I did take an oath to defend and protect the Constitution of the United States against all enemies foreign and domestic. I do not recall ever taking an un-oath. I hold the professional military and civilian LE personnel that I have had the honor to be associated in a variety of capacities over a long period of time in the highest regard. I do not however, have no respect for those who abuse their authority like the ones posted just yesterday on this web site. They tarnish the image and reputations of the truly dedicated professionals. As far as my qualifications, I do not feel the need to post my resume here as the folks responding have not posted theirs and they may be imposters themselves. But just for drill, if you are in the Camp Pendleton area check out the inscription on San Diego Trophy, USMC five man sniper team match, 1974. I do hold an Honorable Discharge, USMC 68-75. I also am a TCLOSE certified instructor which was earned while training at a certified police academy. Other instructor certifications include those issued by state DPS as well as civilian organizations. Now you know a little bit about me.

  • 67161_151147471599176_100001117727411_252753_3625492_n_1__max50

    Silver_Wagon

    over 3 years ago

    16 Comments

    Good points mentioned.

  • Cb46b4bfa58cfbd6_max50

    cnjbrooks

    over 3 years ago

    148 Comments

    Very good article.

  • Pictures_2008_002_max50

    ppupatrol

    over 3 years ago

    442 Comments

    @JHALL41, it's obvious you want to be a police officer, but can't. So, in order to justify to yourself the fact that you cannot, you look for ways to try to down-play our authority and ability. Again, you're profile says "considering a police career"...and private security...i highly doubt you have trained SWAT snipers. What qualifications do you have? Post some things on your profile, show us your great background that supports your claims.

  • Fp-183_max50

    Paladin3087

    over 3 years ago

    40 Comments

    To jhall41; your ignorance is showing. For your info they used everything on the bad guys at North Hollywood, including Slugs and getting rifles from the gun shops. If you have trained and have been around the people you say which I highly doubt, then you would have been exposed to the real world scenario's that you pretend to know about and have been discussed in this article and these comments. I doubt however any of those things are true, judging by your writing and your opinion you have neither trained operators, have been trained or been around anyone who has trained as SWAT or Snipers. And your comments about "this is not Felugha" or however its spelled, is also incorrect. You should visit the FBI website or just look up statistics regarding the body count on US soil and the Middle East. I think you will find that it is much more dangerous for the public over here than there as far as total body count goes. And if you have been keeping up with the news you would see that "Ambushes" on police are becoming very popular among the bad the bad guys, also mirroring the Middle East. So before putting your feet in your mouth again and spouting the constitution, and what powers we have do some real research. I do not believe you are what you say you are, I do however judging by your posts, believe you are one of Starbuck's (Liberal, Hippie Types) who gets together with his groupies and complains about how bad the cops treat everyone. And you are probably a card carrying member of the ACLU, PETA or ACORN, or some other acronym that hates police. I will let you have your opinion but since I heard yours you get to hear mine. Hope all goes well and you don’t need one of those gun toting police you hate so much, and if it’s bad we will wait for the military because we wouldn’t want to offend anyone with violence or a breach of your constitutional rights. Call your local Militia. You know the ones you trained…

  • 309

    Hbryant188

    over 3 years ago

    594 Comments

    The fact of the matter is, the public is going to demand that the police are restricted on their firepower options and when a situation like the North Hollywood Shootout occurs the public is going to ask why the police aren't better armed. Well there's your answer.

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