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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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    CBPD607

    almost 3 years ago

    264 Comments

    Great article.

  • Edres_max50

    wiyemb

    about 3 years ago

    86 Comments

    The genetics in some individuals allow them to be better soldiers and officers, both requiring individuals to make important decisions under strenuous situations

  • Im000112_max50

    inspectorgadget7389

    about 3 years ago

    108 Comments

    I guess America will always be the number one terrorist target because I don't see a time that our civilian peace officers will ever become the so-called warriors the authors wants them to be. The 9/11 attacks were horrific but terrorism is less frequent an act than people think.I would guess that probably 98 to 99% of cops will never respond to a terrorist incident in their careers. if we train them to react like soldiers we risk them overreacting to regular crimes which they will face on a continuous basis. Wasn't this why S.W.A.T. and ESU was created in the first place? Everybody seems stuck on the terror attacks in Beslan. There is always the possibility of a Beslan style attack on a school in America, but training our officers to rush right in and engage the bad guys while accepting that they may have to kill some kids for the greater good won't go over well with officers or the public.

  • Photo_00002_max50

    Recondo99

    over 3 years ago

    2528 Comments

    Terrorists are not well-trained soldiers, they are minimally trained . But I agree that they attempt to fight as soldiers. Therefore they must, when the situation calls for it, be faught by Military small unit tactics. I totally agree with the Author that standard Police methods are the inappropriate response in certain situations. Great Article. LTC Tom Nugent

  • Photo_user_blank_big

    jdemandjr

    over 3 years ago

    4 Comments

    As Albert Einstein prophetically said, "Insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result." The author correctly points out that staying ahead of your opponents OODA Loop is the way to defeat your enemy. Many of the fears I am hearing in these posts about over reacting or being overly aggressive will be correct if law enforcement training does not focus training on developing critical thinking skills, namely observation and orientation. These are the key to making good and accurate decisions and taking action. It is an area that has been overlooked in law enforcement and I believe the key to success in dealing with the challenges of terrorism and violence in our society. In other words, if you can't perceive it correctly and be situationally aware through recognizing pre assault indicators, understanding behavioral assessment (yes profiling - not stereotyping) and pattern recognition law enforcement cannot be effective. This is the difficult part and requires training, the easy part is getting more powerful weapons. We need to quit dumping millions of dollars into technology such as useless scanning equipment and put it toward training our law enforcement officers and increasing their skill sets.

  • Copy_of_marine_photo_edited_edited_max50

    MarineMPSpecReac

    over 3 years ago

    230 Comments

    I disagree that our military will not be tasked. Both law enforcement departments and our military will be tasked if it ever gets to the point of what it is in other countries.

  • Usmc_rifle_team_match_max50

    jhall41

    over 3 years ago

    70 Comments

    Looks like these guys must have missed their class on the use of force/deadly force. Maybe their dealing with some anger management issues and could use an eval and treatment. The public is supposed to respect these guys as warriors? They have a little problem with recognizing a terrorist from a common crook. Warrior talk is irresponsible and fosters this type of behavior.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HJkMuEMqjL4

  • Dscf0540_max50

    popoeric

    over 3 years ago

    14 Comments

    I'll likely receive hostility for disagreeing with fellow readers, but I believe the training should focus more on the peacekeeping tactics. There's plenty of attention directed towards using force as it is, yet peacekeeping is a daily routine for officers, while battling terrorists certainly is not. Police need to be taught skills that they will actually be using on a regular basis, and emphasizing "war" simply results in officers using excessive force.

  • Sfs_desktop_max50

    patrickalders1

    over 3 years ago

    244 Comments

    I agree with you Chief!

  • Ycso-patch_max50

    gau8a

    over 3 years ago

    34 Comments

    absloutely... training is essential, we should always be training and improving

  • 12235_sq90_max50

    chiefkcr

    over 3 years ago

    3614 Comments

    Police Officer training needs to be stepped up to meet the time. All Officers should be trained in SWAT/TAC .

  • Usmc_rifle_team_match_max50

    jhall41

    over 3 years ago

    70 Comments

    Ppupatrol you have once again missed my point. You can try to discredit me personally all you want but it doesn’t change the facts. I do not just sit around and dig up negative articles about police for the sole purpose of bashing them as you project. As a trainer I am interested using these examples to help keep everyone safe. You say nothing about the link to Plano, TX incident that I recently posted. I ask that you review it with an open mind and let’s discuss it. Lots of good examples to talk about and learn from. As you are aware, after every incident there is an investigation (military or police) and training is developed from the lessons learned in an effort to not repeat those mistakes. When people with guns make mistakes people die or suffer great pain and disfigurement. It doesn’t matter if they are civilians, military or fellow police officers. With class III or high powered weapons being placed in the wrong hands casualties multiply. As far as keeping me safe, well if the people that are supposed to be protecting expose me to additional danger then that’s a real problem and I would rather take my chances with just one threat at a time. From my experiences, arrogant and/or insubordinate individuals be they military or Leos multiply the chances of injury or death to everyone. Coming from one who has looked down the barrel of a loaded weapon in a weapons restricted police academy training class I can say that I’m qualified to address the subject.

  • Ericm60_max50

    cakdep1

    over 3 years ago

    3166 Comments

    We are the Local city township village county state bourough or troopers state police and constables and are not the military however many are veterans! We are the local problem solvers and cat and animal and people rescuers! we deal with the domestics thefts dope Growers meth labs civi l matters drunks and hundreds of other issues and problems ! We develop the communications in our citys towns and villages that allow major and minor crimes to be solved because of trust in the Local officer! The Local officers that stopped Tim Mcvey or Shane and ChevY Kehoe on Traffic stopS or whackos in Phoenix WE ARE THE FIRST AND LAST LINE OF DEFENSE who follow some of the most strict standards usualley using the oldest equipment!!

  • Sfs_desktop_max50

    patrickalders1

    over 3 years ago

    244 Comments

    Last I knew my state supposedly had a QRF:Quick Reaction Force team from the Army National Guard for things like this too. I think most National Guard in other states do too.

  • Sfs_desktop_max50

    patrickalders1

    over 3 years ago

    244 Comments

    I cant believe i just read in this article they think that there are probably no terrorist in the US but just a few years ago only a few hours from me the FBI discovered a terrorist training camp right here in Oregon! I haven't looked at who wrote this article cause its not adding up but brings up the valid point that not all cops have the training they may need to face this initially.

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