Winning Against Extreme Violence

Officers are being killed this year in numbers not seen since the 1970s. We must train and prepare to meet and defeat the extreme violence offered against us.


Predators and the hyper-violent bring an intention to win, regardless of the method to an altercation. They intend to walk away, possibly bruised and bloodied, but the victor of an incident, regardless of what method they need to employ to win. Imagine an atavistic being, such as an inmate, that is willing to design a shiv from Styrofoam cups and secrete this in his rectum on a daily basis, until such time as he has the opportunity or the need to employ it. At the critical moment, he will eviscerate another human being with it and then decapitate the dead man, just to make a point. Now put that same individual out on the street with access to military weaponry like an AK-47, and you have a killing machine capable of extreme violence. Whether it is a homemade knife, an assault rifle or his bare hands, the hyper-violent will kill all the same, if you give them the opportunity. You must cultivate your intention to win by understanding the level of violence suspects are capable of and training your butt off in preparation of a one day encounter. You must manifest this readiness, preparedness and skill at arms, for a suspect must think that it is not worth the risk to try you.


Law enforcement must get out of the qualification mentality when conducting firearms training. Shooting for department or state annual qualification is a minimum display of proficiency. It is not training and it does not prepare officers to win gunfights. We must approach this training like we are preparing for a fight for our lives--for indeed we are. Law enforcement agencies must conduct force-on-force training for their officers. This is no longer a luxury--it is mandatory. Extremely violent suspects have the benefit of experience on the battlefield of the street. They've used violence before, and although their training may be rudimentary, they have experience that most officers lack. By "pressure testing" your skills against a living and breathing adversary, you are feeling those physical, physiological and psychological reactions that will take place in a real incident. You are gaining experience in the arena of violence which, like it or not, is what law enforcement is ultimately about.

Law enforcement must field the proper tools for dealing with the hyper-violent. Agencies must field patrol rifles to enable their officers to have a fighting chance against intensely violent suspects. Whether the suspect is across the hood of a car, across the street or across a field, patrol rifles are the means by which well-trained officers can deliver fight stopping accurate fire. Note: Training is the key! Putting a patrol rifle in the hands of an untrained or poorly trained officer is negligence, pure and simple, and is the recipe for disaster!

Use of Force

Law enforcement has hurt itself over the last few years by imposing artificial boundaries on use of force in the guise of "continuums," which create the artificial restrictions that the Supreme Court cautioned about in Graham v. Connor. Instead of improving officers' decisions on use of force, these continuums have created hesitation in our officers and legal paranoia about getting sued. Truth is, most of these poppycock continuums, and especially those that have been absorbed into agencies use of force policies, create a situation in which an officer could have a perfectly good use of force from a legal standpoint, but may violate a department policy. The days of continuums have come and gone; get rid of them.

Trainers John Bostain, Jonathan Madore and Liz Argo, from the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center (FLETC) have said, "we need to train officers what they can do, not what they can't do." Furthermore, we need to understand that there is a "range of reasonableness" based on the totality of the circumstances that the Supreme Court talked about in the Graham decision. By training our officers to their utmost, we ensure proper actions and proper use of force decisions.

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