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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:

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