We now see patrol rifles with flip-up/down sights, variable magnification optics, night vision, vertical fore-stocks, lasers, two white lights, an IR source and infrared optics. We see duty belts with a dozen items on it. And so on.
Dude, it's the shooter, not the tsochkes. Rob Leatham will shoot any course of fire with a perfect score in half your time with a box-stock gun. A federal agent friend of mine can out-shoot 99% of this site's readers with his stock issue Sig.
I appreciate what appropriate gear can do for you. It all has its place, to be sure. I own and use some of it. But a case of ammo and some practice time is often a wiser expenditure of money.
Using SWAT for non-SWAT stuff
I love SWAT. Agencies, without question, need SWAT capability. But we don't need SWAT to do stuff that regular cops can or should be able to do. I understand that the Chief may want to use SWAT for the occasional no-knock drug warrant, even though your narcotics detectives are fully capable of doing it, in order to give them some needed practice. But if, for example, you use SWAT to serve every felony arrest warrant, I'd call that overuse. In fact, Goggle "Fairfax SWAT shooting" to read about how that exact foolish policy led to tragic consequences. As members of the very community and free society that we serve and live in, we need to be as minimally invasive in it as we can and still be safe. We do what we gotta do, but we don't poke our sticks in the public's eye.
Heavy SWAT marketing messages
You can't market a normal law enforcement tool anymore. Look at every ad you see: everything is doused in the SWAT/Ninja/secret-squirrel/"first-tier operator" sauce. You want an ordinary flashlight? Or a plain-jane gun? What a wimp you are!
Think I'm blaming the manufacturers? Nope. Vendors do what sells. They respond to the public. These marketing messages are really a reflection of the mindset that their audience has, which in our case is too often a lot like a 13 year old who sooooo wants a toy.
All that cool stuff has it's place, I know. I like, and write about, and use, some neat gear. But at the end of the day, what I actually use on the street is pretty simple - high quality, yes, and new sometimes - but pretty simple.
Using "civilian" to describe non-cops
We're all civilians! For goodness sake, know the English language that we speak here in America. Referring to the public as civilians 1) shows abysmal ignorance, and 2) reflects an occupying army mind set.
A professional law enforcement instructor isn't simply someone who performs a skill, like shooting or DT or whatever, well. What makes him or her a professional instructor is that they also put the skills into a law enforcement context and they tell and show you how and when the skills are justified. They know and can cite relevant case law, both federal and state. They know what your local DA wants to see. Further, they don't just teach their stuff, they document it. Every lesson plan and everything taught in every class is described in detail, documented, and filed - all according to professional standards - so that it is available for the tenure of your career and beyond. Further, they know how to teach their subject and they care passionately about their students getting it.
A professional researches and keeps up with current best practices. A professional, by definition, is a member of a profession, and professions have bodies that further the knowledge of the profession. So unless, say, a force instructor is a member of and attends the conferences of bodies like IALEFI and ILEETA to keep their knowledge and techniques up to date, they can't really be called professionals. Good shooters or proficient DT practitioners maybe, or maybe even good teachers, but not professionals.