Training >> Browse Articles >> Officer Safety


Major Lesson Plan: Off-duty action

Jack Ryan

Target Audience: Law Enforcement personnel who may be faced with the tasks of off-duty carrying of firearms and off-duty action

Objective: Provide officers with essential knowledge of the law relating to off-duty carrying of firearms and off-duty intervention

Format: Roll-call/ supervisory training.

Time: Five to ten minutes, but this may be expanded where agency resources allow.

Materials: Law Enforcement Risk Management Legal Update and any agency policy relating to off-duty firearms carry and off-duty intervention

Note: Officers should be encouraged to read the article in this update on “Always Armed/Always on Duty” either before or after this roll-call training.

Hypothetical #1

Officer Rico is on a day off. In accordance with his department’s firearm policy, he is exercising his option to carry a firearm. Officer Rico goes to his local bank to cash his paycheck when he observes two masked men brandishing firearms enter the bank. After the men rob the bank, Officer Rico follows them outside.

Question #1

What steps might Officer Rico take to minimize the danger to his personal safety?

Answer #1

Go to a safe location and call 911.

Act as a good witness.

Have a bank employee call 911 and let 911 personnel know that there is an off-duty police officer at the scene and provide descriptive information of the officer, i.e. clothing etc.

Hypothetical #2

Officer Rico determines that the bank robbers may pose a significant life-threatening danger to others if allowed to escape. He decides that it is his duty to become involved by attempting to make an apprehension.

Question #2

What is Officer Rico’s obligation to get involved?

Answer #2

(Answer may vary depending on department policy) Best Practice: The officer’s only obligation is to notify the jurisdiction where the event is taking place.

Hypothetical #3

Officer Rico decides to get involved and is able to surprise the robbers before they make their getaway. As Rico holds the two robbers at gunpoint, uniformed on-duty officers arrive at the scene and begin to shout, “police, don’t move!”

Question #3

What steps can Officer Rico take to minimize the danger to his personal safety, the safety of the uniformed officers and the safety of the robbers?


Officer Rico should:

1. Prominently displaying his badge without making a movement that may be perceived as threatening to the responding officers.

2. Immediately follow the commands of responding officers.

3. Use caution to ensure that any movements are not perceived as threatening toward the responding officers.

4. Loudly identify himself as a law enforcement officer to responding officers.

PoliceLink School Finder

Save time in your search for a degree program. Use PoliceLink's School Finder to locate schools online and in your area.

* In the event that we cannot find a program from one of our partner schools that matches your specific area of interest, we may show schools with similar or unrelated programs.