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Training Our Cops For Combat

Training Our Cops For Combat

SWAT Digest

If you read the world news headlines it’s easy to find articles about terrorist acts being committed in other countries and how the specific country’s military responded. This is a common theme all around the world. Terrorist group commits act – country’s selected military unit responds. Why is that? Because terrorists commit acts of violence that are, for all intents and purposes, acts of war.

The only reason we, in general, don’t label them as such, is because they aren’t acting on behalf of a government. While it’s no secret that many governments sponsor and support various terrorist organizations, those terrorist organizations are not given the authority to act on behalf of a specific government. So, it’s not “an act of war”. Here in the United States, we have a special problem that calls for a special solution: we define terrorism as a crime.

That means that our law enforcement professionals, and not the military, will be tasked to respond to and deal with terrorist acts. What’s the problem then? Our law enforcement professionals are not – as part of their academy or in-service training – prepared to act as combatants on a battlefield. They are trained as peace keepers; law enforcers; not soldiers in a war.

Here’s the irony: According to LtCol R. Gangle (USMC ret) in 2002, approximately 85% of our military deployments in the past four decades had been peace keeping missions. So, to me, this naturally begs the question: If our soldiers and our law enforcement professionals are both fulfilling the primary mission of peace keeping, then why is their training so radically different?

The answer, at least partially, lies in the recognition of this fact: men (and women) can be trained to commit acts of violence and acts of defense. It is a fact that acts of defense can be violent in and of themselves. However, the primary difference between war and peace keeping is that war mandates offensive violent actions. It requires attack.

Peace keeping requires constant vigilence while keeping all violent energy contained until such time as it is required to defend against an attack. Further, in peace keeping, the mandate is always to release as little of that violent energy as is necessary to repel or overcome the attack. “Using that minimum force which is necessary to affect the arrest” is a term often heard in law enforcement training.

Now, just as a barbarian cannot act civilized, but a civilized man can act like a barbarian, it’s unreasonable to expect that we can train peace keepers to train and operate within specific parameters and then expect them to shrug off all the limits they’ve learned when faced with acts of war. Our professional peace keepers in the United States – those police officers, deputies, federal agents, etc. – they have spent months and sometimes years training to perform their duties within the controls and restrictions of Constitutional Law, State, County and Local laws, and departmental guidelines.

They are regularly given reminders that all uses of force will be at least minimally investigated and that they (the LE professionals) will be held criminally and civilly liable if they use more force than is required.

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  • 309

    Hbryant188

    over 3 years ago

    594 Comments

    The Chief banned 12 gauge slugs because he had the same accountability opinion that you have and we all know how that ended... As for serving with active duty...many of the cops that work in the United States are also active-duty, reserve, and/or national guard soldiers.

  • Me2_max50

    bstites

    over 3 years ago

    1028 Comments

    @jhall41... why are you here if you have these kinds of thoughs? get off PL

  • Me2_max50

    bstites

    over 3 years ago

    1028 Comments

    LMAO @ppupatrol! i feel the same way!

  • Usmc_rifle_team_match_max50

    jhall41

    over 3 years ago

    70 Comments

    I have had the opportunity to review the police training tapes of the North Hollywood Shootout and there is nothing there that changes my opinion that police are responsible to the public and are public servants. They are granted limited powers by the citizens and given the privilege of carrying a gun. Our laws are the only thing that keeps the police in check and from being brown shirted, jack booted, faced covered, fully armored thugs like some contend.
    It takes a special person to handle the job and if they either come in with or develop an at war with the public attitude it’s a recipe for disaster. If they can’t handle it then they need to be in another line of work. I’ve heard all the excuses and justifications for their warranting more authority and weaponry to the security community ranging from SWAT to mall cops. I have been in training with and have trained SWAT snipers. I can honestly that say I would feel safer serving with active military personnel any day. The accident record, abuse of authority charges, excessive force complaints and misconduct indictments support my opinion.
    As for the North Holly Wood shoot out, I would suspect the outcome to have been considerably different had the Chief not banned police from carrying 12 gauge slugs as reported.

  • Img_0970_max50

    CDTDAT

    over 3 years ago

    312 Comments

    Amen ppupatrol!!

  • Pictures_2008_002_max50

    ppupatrol

    over 3 years ago

    442 Comments

    @jhall41...first off, you don't know what a police officer is sworn to do, because we are sworn to defend the Constitution of the United States, as well as our respective States. And it's not about "Arming up all the different agency’s rank and file members", it's about training and having the resources available in the case of an act happening. In the event of something happening, what are you going to activate the national guard...active duty? Assuming they aren't deployed, how long is that going to take? What should your local Sheriff's Office or Police Department do...continue to answer domestic dispute calls, or respond? "The military has more control, accountability and discipline over their weapons and personnel than the typical police organizations do"...how do you know this? What branch were you in, and what department do you work for? Looks like it says you are in private security on your page...I suggest before you comment on something that you are not experienced in, you re-consider. Maybe instead of belonging to PoliceLink, you would be better suited to Better Homes and Gardens.

  • 309

    Hbryant188

    over 3 years ago

    594 Comments

    Police officers are like soldiers. When soldiers go into combat in a hostile country, they are always looking behind their backs. There is always a bullseye on their heads and deployment is a tense and trying time. Everyone in the hostile country either wants to kill you or use you to their advantage. Policing here in the US is practically the same. You always have to watch your back no matter what. You work under intense scrutiny under the administrative and public eyes. You are held to the highest standard by the public and you make one mistake and they'll tear you apart like sharks. You have a bullseye on your head every time you go to work and even (proven last year here in Arkansas) off duty. There are people out there who want to kill you and there are people who want to take advantage of you. I gaurentee you %80 of the public dislike police. Every day police officers are at war. They go to combat every time they leave the station.

  • 309

    Hbryant188

    over 3 years ago

    594 Comments

    @ jhall41 ... What happens when another situation like the North Hollywood shootout occurs? Who's going to be the first on the scene? The police. You can't wait for the SWAT team everytime. And it's not like superman can come and make everything better. It can happen anytime and anywhere. Personally, I'd rather come to a fight with overwhelming firepower than being outgunned anyday.

  • O_s_max50

    rc86

    over 3 years ago

    962 Comments

    I'll say I have mixed feelings. Training is invaluable and saves lives, both officers and civilians.

  • Usmc_rifle_team_match_max50

    jhall41

    over 3 years ago

    70 Comments

    This kind of talk scares the crap out of me as a citizen. No doubt that police work is a hard job but arming them to the teeth and making them believe they have authority previously only extended to the military is a very dangerous thing to do.
    The article pumps everyone up to point way beyond their responsibility level. LEs mission is not to protect and defend the constitution of the United States. That responsibility belongs to the military. Check out the Constitution for limited powers granted to the federal government by the citizens.
    A constable for instance does not need training in all phases of combat and their office does not need a SWAT team along with every other agency out there that wants to justify elevating themselves to commando status. Armed with money collected from seized assets and no accountability they are free to order every piece of tacti-cool gear in a vendor catalog. Arming up all the different agency’s rank and file members must make city attorneys stay up at night.
    The military has more control, accountability and discipline over their weapons and personnel than the typical police organizations do. At last count, martial law has not been declared yet on our streets and , although violent from time to time is not Fallujah . Well, not yet anyway.
    Someone once said something about heeding the lessons learned from mistakes in history or be prepared to have them repeated. During the American Civil War all the able men left their homes to go defend their freedom on the battle field. The security of the towns was left up to the militia or home guard that began to seize authority and grant them-selves unchecked authority over the citizens. They soon became feared more by defenseless citizens than the enemy’s invading army.
    Some might say they’re starting to see a comparison from the tone of this article and reading some of the comments like the one recommending going around their departments policies and procedures if they don’t get what they want.
    But then reading at the bottom who originally published the article kind of explains the attitude reflected. SWAT Digest? Are you kidding me!!

  • 100_1019_max50

    bobska

    over 3 years ago

    660 Comments

    Pretty good article, can't say I agree with it all, but it did have some good facts!

  • Pictures_2008_002_max50

    ppupatrol

    over 3 years ago

    442 Comments

    And as far as the whole Reasonable/Minimal force discussion, it really doesn't pertain in effect to this article, essentially making a fuss about nothing. Reasonable force is using the minimal force necessary to effect an arrest. If u don't do that, prepare yourself for federal court. It was a good article, the point was taken by the majority of us...

  • Pictures_2008_002_max50

    ppupatrol

    over 3 years ago

    442 Comments

    Great article. As a Navy and Army vet, and current LEO, one of my biggest issues is hearing a new hire fresh from college tell me that Veterans Preference is unfair. After a few choice words I explained to him why having us combat trained Deputies on your side is beneficial in many ways, including in the case of an act of terrorism...I will show him this article ASAP..

  • F2_1__max50

    ddoggreen

    over 3 years ago

    20 Comments

    It is most unfortunate that our police departments have to adapt to miilitary tactics in order to combat terrorists in the place of thier choosing, we have set ourselves to a losing proposition according to Sun Tzu, we neither know ourselves or our enemy, and are therefore doomed to failure. A terrorist act is indeed an act of war, whether on our soil or not, our military should be the "lead agency" in the threat response. This article cites the training, equipment, tactics, and most importantly the mindset of most law enforcers as inadequate to respond. Indeed the Fort Hood attack illustrates the damage just one crazed Jihadist can create, if this were a concerted attack the body count would have increased dramatically. And this particular attack illustrated the soft underbelly of military bases, beyond the main gate, truly tragic. I agree that we must look at realistic training methods, and a hardening of the mind in order to remove the hesitation factor when faced with threat elimination vs. affecting arrest. Outstanding article.

  • Photo_user_blank_big

    maxxoccupancy

    over 3 years ago

    328 Comments

    @dmathe, My understanding of the rule in New Hampshire is minimal force, and that this rule applies to both self defense and law enforcement actions. "Reasonable force" is accepted by a few members of the general public, but, given that they are the ones paying the bill, an overwhelming majority have rejected what they consider excessive force. If you want to work for the taxpayer, you have to address their concerns. Hoping that a majority of angry citizens will simply give up trying to reform their town's political system might get you a political victory or two, but you'll never have public support.

    Acting in defense of self or community, I may not, as a juror, convict you for stabbing someone in the eye

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