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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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+39
  • Photo_user_blank_big

    Anonymous

    over 3 years ago

    I should have in fact pointed out (ref my earlier comment) that the use of the word "minimal" is not correct. Reasonable and necessary are the standard. Thanks for the accountability.

  • Photo_user_blank_big

    jack3d

    over 3 years ago

    56 Comments

    We are trained to use one level of force above what the suspect is using, with of course the last level being deadly force. I-E- If the suspect is throwing punches, I'm tackling, tasering, body slamming, oc etc. On the other side of the coin, if the suspect has a knife or gun and is using or attempting to use it on an innocent or an officer I'm going to kill him. It's all common sense really.

    If we as officers have to respond to a terrorist act and the terrorist are still on scene then it's no different from a suspect. Bring your AR's and if they shoot or point a gun at you then right there you have all the permission you need to end thier life. IF you respond and they are actively shooting, kill them.

    It's all common sense really.

  • Cfs1a2_max50

    carterfsmith

    over 3 years ago

    2 Comments

    As a retired agent and professor who teaches criminal justice and homeland security topics, I agree that our police professionals are indeed underprepared for this threat, The warning is good for terrorist activities, but I recently completed research on an issue that I feel is more pressing (and more likely to be encountered this week).
    If you are remotely interested in the topic (Perceptions of Gang Investigators Regarding Military-Trained Gang Members) here's a link to the presentation (with speaker's notes if you are experiencing insomnia :-).

    http://www.slideshare.net/carterfsmith/perceptions-of-gang-investigators-regarding-presence-of-military-trained-gang-members

  • Photo_user_blank_big

    slipstream7733

    over 3 years ago

    12 Comments

    oops, I did not realize that so many others had already voiced the same opinion that I scribed. It is good to know that my fellow brethren warriors know how to and to what level they can and will portect themselves. I am a street officer. I patrol every night. When I am not working, I am training other leos, military, and security personnel on the Use of Force and in going home the same or better than you came to work daily. I have two little girls and a wonderful wife to see every morning when i walk through that door. I have brothers in arms I see everynight, and troops I supervise while walking "point". Terrorist will come to this country in more numbers then they already have. It is the front-line troop who will meet them. It was a rookie officer who caught Rudolph. It was a trooper who caught McVeigh. It will be those who are vigilent who will save lives at even the cost of their own.

    IN UMBRA IGITUR PUGNABIMUS

  • Photo_user_blank_big

    slipstream7733

    over 3 years ago

    12 Comments

    I agree with the sentiment of your article. We are warriors every day. We know neither the enemy nor when they will attack. We must stay vigilant!!! Officers are not required to use the "minimum amount of force necessary.” What officers are required to use is REASONABLE FORCE. Physiology of the human body and the exigent circumstances of a physical confrontation do not allow for minimum force. This terminology and thought process must undergo a paradigm shift and emphasis be placed where it needs to be, on the warrior wearing the badge. Political correctness is going to get more officers killed. The Supreme Court has placed the standard of reasonable force; let’s start teaching it and supporting our officers when they do it.

  • Derrick_max50

    gradyg

    over 3 years ago

    1118 Comments

    I concur Law Enforcers needs to be trained in combat engagement not just SWAT Teams. As more combat veterans are returning to civilain life some are going to end up breaking the law and it is the patrol officers who are going to be task with dealing with those type of criminals and it's better if they are train in combat engagement just like the military train their soldiers. There are veterans that have been train in all types of special training that will not be put on their DD214 and not only that it's better that Police Officers are prepare to engage all sorts of criminals especially a well trained combat ready criminal. Terrorist are well train and is ready too die for their cause and Police Officers needs to be trained and ready when called upon. GOD BLESS all Police Officers and KEEP UP THE GREAT WORK.

  • Photo_user_blank_big

    dmathe

    over 3 years ago

    6 Comments

    With all due respect your pursuit policy has nothing to do with force. Pursuit decisions are made based on the need to apprehend a suspect verses the dange to the community. You are correct the threat is real so please be prepaired just dont limit yourself by thinking the standard of judging weather force was appropriate is based on it being minimal, it is not it is based on it being reasonable. Reasonable gives you a lot of room so use that room to your advantage and end the confrontation quickly with overwelming reasonable force and go home every night to your family, for that is whats important.

  • Sgt_longshore_01_max50

    Architect69

    over 3 years ago

    14 Comments

    that is absolutely correct! If we have "rules of engagement" that tie the hands of our military, what makes you think we don't have the same within the United States. for example: In quite a few jurisdictions, you cannot chase the suspect due to collateral damage or the "liability" in doing so if the suspect ran over someone or kills someone in the pursuit! Tell me that is not considered "minimal force"? We need all the training that we can get!

    If you don't think the Threat is real? Try looking at those 35 training camps that Al-Queda has in this country that we know of, maybe more? 1000's of Muslim activists are trained each month and released into our society to mingle with us and to wait until the proper time to commit their evil plots against us...YOU need to prepare for that day...as it is coming...like it or not!

  • Photo_user_blank_big

    dmathe

    over 3 years ago

    6 Comments

    Let me start by saying I am not in upper management, and have worked the streets for 21 years. My opinion is that an article this inaccurate should not be allowed on this site. The author talks of "MINIMAL FORCE" threw out the entire article. My problem with this is two fold.
    1 it is not accurate !
    2 people read this stuff and believe it, expecially when it is on such a pro police web site.
    Here is a quote from a writer below The hardest thing for me to learn when I became an LEO was that I was to use the "minimal force necessary .
    The reason it seemed hard to learn is because it is not true. This is far from accurate in fact it isnt even close! and that is why this article should not be allowed in this forum because people belive what they read.
    We are not required to use minimal force all of us reguardless of where you police in this country are required to use "REASONABLE FORCE"
    I think Paladin says it best below
    "I Will not go gentle into that good night"...that includes driving my car threw the trailor of the ass hole that killed the Ohio officer the other day, or driving my pen threw a scumbags eyeball while engaged in hand to hand combat. I doubt these tactics would be considered minimal but they are reasonable and are scenerios that i have rehearsed in my head to prepair me for the next time deadly force is needed. It isnt a matter of will it happen to me its a matter of when it happens to me i will be prepaired and not only will I not go gentle into that good night, I will win and send him to his good night!!!!
    My advise to all LEO is be prepaired for the worst and fight to win!

  • Fm_cr_max50

    Sgt_Fitz

    over 3 years ago

    46 Comments

    The author is spot on! We recently had this very discussion at our department wide training days. We are fortunate in that we have a number of former and current military folks (Reserves and Nat'l Guard, all of whom have been deployed to OIF and OEF) in our agency. A few have SOCOM experience and we use that to our advantage. We get a lot of valuable insight from these guys and put it right into our training. Small unit tactics are the foundation of preparation for these encounters. We have run live-fire exercises using bounding over-watch and counter ambush (immediate action) drills. We use our SWAT operators as cadre during training days and emphasize that these tactics have a specific application during a specific kind of incident. they cab adapted to every day police work, but primarily they are for reaction to or prevention of incidents like Beslan or Mumbai. The friendly casualties resulting from such incidents can be if minimized or altogether eliminated if interrupted early enough by a trained, determined response. There will be no regiment of infantry such as in Beslan or National Police (Mumbai) responding to our aid it will be cops and primarily patrol cops who will bear the burden of this type of event. They will be facing a determined enemy (not suspects) who most likely will have at least as much if not more training than they do. That must change, now. There must come a point where the enemy comes to the conclusion that they have made a grave mistake and will pay dearly for it. That comes from the attitude on the part of the responders that at that moment, their sole responsibility is to find the enemy, fix him in place, kill him and break his stuff. Find him, Fix him and F**k him up. plain and simple.

    We as agencies have the resources to make this happen. We just need to marshal them together and use our collective imaginations to get this done. If our administrations aren't buying off on it, perhaps we need to take the responsibility upon ourselves as leaders and get it done despite them.

    Something else that needs to be addressed, as distasteful as it is...we must steel ourselves to the reality that we will suffer losses. Officers must understand that they may have to step over the body of a dead or dying friend to continue the fight. The time to mourn will come but the mission must come first, Charlie Mike...continue the mission.

    My opinion is that the people who will conduct these attacks are already here. Regardless of how they got here, it is simply a matter of when, not if, we will have suffer an attack. My fear is it will come before we are prepared and in the aftermath we will be playing catch up...as usual. We need get busy now!

  • Fallenherobadge-3-1_max50_max50

    A1852

    over 3 years ago

    262 Comments

    CombatVet: Because there are "bad cops" out there and SWAT teams have raided homes erroneously doesn't mean we, as LEOs shouldn't be prepared for war. Bad cops and erroneous intelligence will come regardless of how prepared we are. I.E. did we stop Army Officers from preparing for war when that Army Major murdered fellow soldiers on behalf of his Jihad? How many times have you heard about military intelligence being off and being blamed for killing civilians?

    Except for those who are truley demented, I don't think any rational combat soldier or LEO goes out with the intent to harm others who are NOT a threat to anyone else. It is when individuals try to change my (our) belief system en mass by committing violent acts that the combat soldier and the LEO MUST be prepared to act in kind and to DOMINATE!!

    The point I took from this article was that LEO management is too afraid of image, the next political fiasco, litigation. Fearing litigation gets officers killed!! That split second of hesitation thinking about losing your house because of litigation WILL GET YOU KILLED!!

    I believe that LEOs should remain a reactionary, defensive force for the most part. However, when we react, we must "seek out, close with, and destroy..." the threat. The hardest thing for me to learn when I became an LEO was that I was to use the "minimal force necessary ." During my first interview for a postiion, I was given a shoot/don't shoot scenario. I responded, in that scenario, by stating I would shoot the person "center of mass." I was askied if I was shooting to kill the person. I said "No, I'm shooting to stop him." "Then why are you shooting him center of mass?" I was asked. I said that when you shoot someone center of mass, you pretty much stop everything.

    Having the military patrol the streets IS a bad thing. However, the article is merely indicating that we, as LEOs must be prepared for war and adopt a warrior mentality when whe confront gangs, drug traffickers, illegal arms dealers, etc...

    Love your quote Paladin!! No one more perfect to deliver those lines than Jack Nicholson!! My quote? "I'd rather be tried by 12 than buried by six."

    Semper Fi...

  • Fp-183_max50

    Paladin3087

    over 3 years ago

    40 Comments

    Here Here, I agree totally with this article, and since when are loose screws a bad thing. Lol, I have a few myself, the older I get the losser they get... A nice quote I live by...

    “Son, we live in a world that has walls, and those walls have to be guarded by men with guns. You have the luxury of not knowing what I know and my existence, while grotesque and incomprehensible to you, saves lives. You don't want the truth because deep down in places you don't talk about at parties, you want me on that wall, you need me on that wall. We use words like honor, code, loyalty. We use these words as the backbone of a life spent defending something. You use them as a punchline. I have neither the time nor the inclination to explain myself to a man who rises and sleeps under the blanket of the very freedom that I provide, and then questions the manner in which I provide it. I would rather you just said thank you, and went on your way, otherwise, I suggest you pick up a weapon, and stand a post. Either way, I don't give a damn what you think you are entitled to”.

  • Fp-183_max50

    Paladin3087

    over 3 years ago

    40 Comments

    And we do see terrorists every day, Tell me what a terrorist looks like?

  • Fp-183_max50

    Paladin3087

    over 3 years ago

    40 Comments

    To Combat vet, I am a former Marine, and I think you are totally wrong. Although I don't begrudge your opinion. I want you to ponder this... A lot of Law Enforcement Officer's are former Military and are trained to kill as I was and you if you are what you say; as quickly and efficiently as possible. So to say that law enforcement should not be trained to win these "Combat Scenario's" would be wrong thinking. We see Combat (French for "fight"), ("A battle, a fight (often one in which weapons are used); a struggle for victory; To fight; to struggle for victory;) on the streets everyday. And I don't know how old you are but if you have seen what I have seen in the military and on our own streets you would recognize that there is evil out their and it only knows violence, and you must meet violence with violence to survive... And that is our goal, to go home the same way we came to work, and if I get to put a piece of trash that wants to Kill or harm the citizens of this country or that tried to kill me, in the ground then I earned my paycheck. All I have to say is bring your "A" game because I "Will not go gentle into that good night"...

  • Photo_user_blank_big

    Anonymous

    over 3 years ago

    I wouldn't want the military patrolling our streets and we already have alot of para-military styled police departments with the SWAT units, K9 units, etc. I hate to say this but it's bad enough we have alot of bad cops in uniform with big attitudes who do hurt people and then we have had alot of SWAT teams busting down doors and killing pets and hurting/killing civi's through bad intel on supposed drug houses, etc. Those situations while not too common are becoming more and more common every day now.

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