TRAINING NOT REFLECTIVE OF REALITY
By now we should all understand that no tool or technique is 100% effective, 100% of the time on 100% of the subjects we confront. Subjects can and have defeated OC spray, Tasers®, baton strikes, kicks and gunshot wounds. Having acknowledged this reality the question is do we train our officers to be prepared when these tools and techniques fail? Too often, the answer is no. The training convinces officers that these force options will always work in the field. I believe this occurs for a few reasons:
- In an effort to convince officers of the value of a tool or technique trainers give the impression that it will always work.
- Trainers have adopted the manufacturers training protocols which are designed to sell a product by showing how effective their tool is.
- The use of force training is still fragmented and the different force options are taught by different trainers.
Regardless of why it has happened, steps must be taken to correct this oversight. Officers, in training, must be exposed to drills where the tool or technique fails and they have to transition to an alternate target area on the subject, or transition to a different force response option in order to defeat the threat and gain control of the subject.
Other questions to consider on this topic:
- Does training always take place in well lit rooms and ranges, or do we training in low light and no light conditions?
- Does training take place in large open combative rooms with mats on the floors, or does it take place in narrow hallways, rooms with furniture and people, or outdoors?
- Is training always involve only one subject or are we training for the reality of multiple assailants?
- Do we always train with both arms or do we train for one of our arms to be disabled and still win the fight?
- Do we train to win without ever getting injured, or do we train to get shot, stabbed or injured in other ways and stay focused, stay in the fight and win?
The challenge to every single trainer is to continue to ask What’s Important Now? What is important is that we set aside our egos, take a step back from the emotional attachment to the training we deliver, and examine how we train our brother and sister law enforcement professionals and ourselves. As part of this self examination process it is important to ask ourselves:
- Does our training reflect reality?
- Are we truly training officers to win, or inadvertently setting them up to fail?
- Do we train with imagination and emotion, or do we go through the motions in training?
- What gaps exist in our training?
- What steps do we need to take to identify and eliminate training gaps?
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