The “War on Cops:” What Can You Do Right Now?

We’re going to be hearing and reading so much over the next several months about this past year and what we can do better in the future, but what can you do right now?

If you are a trainer (or you’re in charge of the training function in your agency), are you doing everything in your power to help your people succeed? Truly examine your own training programs, whether you teach firearms, defensive tactics, or something else.  When was the last time you made any significant changes or additions to your curriculum? Take a look at your students (very often they’re your co-workers); do they enjoy your training, do they have the right equipment, are they successful? We just spoke with a very frustrated firearms instructor who is having a difficult time qualifying female and smaller-handed officers with the department-issued large frame handgun.  The fix is easy - allow them to carry a firearm that fits their hand - but the situation has digressed to a point where the women hate to shoot and some of the trainers are more concerned about the consistency of their program than they are about training the women to win gun fights. Remember, that fellow officer you’re training today may very well be your back up tomorrow. 

Enjoy your life.  We see so much tragedy, and we live in a world where every car we walk up on, every domestic we respond to, every cell extraction we participate in could turn into a fight for our life.  Make sure you have positives in your life; family, friends, hobbies, charity work, pets, whatever you enjoy.  Learn to live in the moment, enjoy your life and your successes, big or small.  Recognize your own humanity, but embrace your heroic choice to serve in a law enforcement organization.  Together, we can win this war. Be safe!


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About The Author:

Sgt. Betsy Brantner Smith is a 29-year veteran of a large suburban Chicago police department. Recently retired as a patrol supervisor, she has held positions in patrol, investigations, narcotics, juvenile, crime prevention and field training. As a sergeant, she supervised her department's K-9 Unit, served as a field training sergeant, recruitment team sergeant, bike patrol coordinator, the Crowd Control Bike Team supervisor, and supervisor of the Community Education/Crime Prevention Unit.

As a patrol sergeant, Betsy served on the Elderly Services Team, the Crisis Intervention Team, and was a supervisory member of the Honor Guard Unit. From 1999 - 2003 Betsy hosted various programs for the Law Enforcement Television Network and served as a content expert.

A graduate of the Northwestern University Center for Public Safety's School of Staff and Command, Betsy writes for numerous law enforcement and government publications including and is a regular columnist for many police websites including Police Link. A content expert and instructor for the Calibre Press "Street Survival" seminar since 2003, Betsy also serves as an on-air commentator and advisor for Police One TV and was a featured character in the Biography Channel’s “Female Forces” reality show. Betsy has been a law enforcement trainer for over 20 years and is a popular keynote speaker at conferences throughout the United States and Canada and beyond.

Betsy is the lead instructor for the Calibre Press “Street Survival for Women” seminar and manages Dave Smith & Associates. Together, Betsy and Dave teach courses through “Winning Mind Seminars,” an Illinois based company. She can be reached through her website at

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