Be wary of tunnel vision training based on the latest high-profile event. The push right now is training for school shooter scenarios following the mass casualty attack at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas. While these are important scenarios to train for, they are still a rare occurrence and only one of a wide range of calls law enforcement professionals must respond to every day across North America. Schools are also just one location where active killer events occur and firearms are just one weapon used in mass casualty attacks.
If we are going to do what we have done so often in the past and rush to put everyone through one-off training based on the last high-profile event, and assume that means everyone is proficient in those skills long term, then we are doing a disservice to everyone, especially when we do it before the investigation is complete and all the accurate information is available.
If we are going to focus all our energy on “At Bang” events and fail to work collectively to best determine how to stay well “Left of Bang” as Greg Williams from Arcadia Cognerati has been teaching for decades through his Human Behavior Pattern Recognition and Analysis training, then we are doing a disservice to everyone.
If we are focused on teaching people what to think instead of how to think critically, sense make, make decisions, and solve problems then we are doing everyone a disservice.
Law enforcement professionals deal with novelty all day, every day. While calls may be coded the same for dispatch and statistical purposes, every call has unique elements that the officers must assess, make sense of, and then make a series of decisions to solve the problem they believe they are currently facing. Michael Dorn, the Executive Director of Safe Havens International, explained to me that in over 20 K-12 active assailant and targeted shootings he has provided official post-incident assistance on at U.S, Canadian and Mexican schools there are more differences than similarities. So, are you training for the last attack, or training your people to think critically so they can best manage the next one?
Are you tunnel visioned on active killer scenarios at schools to the exclusion of training your people in interviewing skills, conducting thorough investigations, subject control tactics, driving, legal issues, policy issues, leadership, strategic communications, resilience, scene management, human factors, report writing, critical thinking, decision making, sense making, problem solving, wellness and the myriad of other training topics you need to cover?
I know it is challenging to not get caught up in the emotional contagion from the last high-profile event. As a trainer you need to step back and take an objective look at the time, money, resources, and training needs of your people and figure out how to avoid getting tunnel vision looking back and instead maintain wide vision looking forward to best serve your people.
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