Officer Survival, Really?

Recently a former police commander and criminal justice commander sent an email to Kevin Davis expressing her thoughts on today's police officers and training. She what she had to say and how Davis responds.

What do you think about the following statement?

Today's officer is isolated within a patrol car, emboldened with body armor, quick to draw a Taser or firearm, and slow to engage people skills to resolve everyday issues.

This comment written in an email really ticked me off. It was penned by a college professor who facilitates law enforcement classes for several universities in response to an interview I had done with police journalist Chuck Remsberg and his subsequent column. She claimed that law enforcement trainers like me focused entirely too much emphasis on the tactical or use of force aspects of the J-O-B and not enough on critical thinking and communications training. She said, "Neanderthal man became extinct on the tactic of brute force alone..."

Although my critic, or rather this critic, claimed no law enforcement experience I was to find out later that she is a retired police commander with 35 years in LE. To say I was disappointed by a retired member of my profession making such damning statements about active duty police officers today is an understatement.

She goes on:

Fewer can adequately write, spell, read, or effectively construct a decent police report, let alone resolve a crisis without using violence.

Now let me pick my hairy knuckles up off the floor and see if I can think of a response and effectively communicate that to you.


This pretty much sums up my feelings on her comments. My response was and is that I find her comments about my Brothers and Sisters in Blue condescending as well as insulting. From an over-educated academic with little exposure to the real world you might, just might, understand the comments but from someone with time on the job?

I'll tell you what I essentially told her: "I am insulted by the comments as would street police officers be. There are enough non-LE people who attack law enforcement officers as unthinking thugs and brutes as well as Monday morning quarterbacking them from the safety of an office."

Further I explained, "I will assume that your passion lies with mine in saving officer lives on the street through proper training. I'll never make an apology in my passion for that mission or for sticking up for the troops who, now more than ever, are forced to do more with less under more scrutiny and second guessing."

Funny, I thought the patrol car and computer aided dispatch meant that a smaller patrol force could cover more territory? Try a park and walk nowadays and you better be prepared to run back to your car when the next priority call goes out. Also, correct me if I'm wrong, but aren't agencies laying off? If they aren't they certainly aren't hiring to replace officers that have retired. What's the result? A patrol force that is doing more with less people...

Call me crazy but hasn't the advent of concealable body armor saved lives? Emboldened with body armor? Emboldened? Are you kidding me? Regardless of wearing a Level IIA vest or IIIA vest while on SWAT I'm not and neither is any other officer I know looking to get shot or actively sticking our derriere out there to get shot. And haven't Tasers reduced officer and suspect injuries? Yes, there has developed the tendency of Taser "over dependence or over reliance" which even Taser International has described and warned against. That said, there are plenty of agencies throughout this country because of the fear of litigation who tell their officers not to go hands on, just taze 'em. As far as not talking to suspects or citizens, I completely disagree. If you have any kind of street experience you know the dangers of engaging in a physical confrontation with a suspect. Most veteran street warriors I know consider an arrest without a confrontation to be a win and will attempt to verbally diffuse or dissuade a suspect rather than look for a physical confrontation.

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