Illusions and Delusions in Training

Let’s quit reassuring our students and deluding ourselves that we’re ready when we are not.

Feel my words are too harsh?  Get over it instructors – lives hang in the balance of the content and quality of the training we give our officers.  Quite frankly low-speed maneuverability is not properly preparing your students for the streets.  I know many of these types of academies make the instructors money but the question is, is it worth it?  This isn’t “T-Ball” where everyone wins and everyone gets a trophy.

The Student’s Mission 

Nose to the grindstone you apply yourself to your training.  Although the study will take up your entire career, you’ll reap the benefits right away.  You invest “sweat equity” to learn the skills to maximize your performance and minimize your risks.  By training for and achieving competency you’ll be much better able to control the Sympathetic Nervous System reaction commonly known as “fight or flight.”  In this way you’ll perform better physically but also be able to make better cognitive decisions under stress.  Does this sound like anything that is possibly accomplished by training to minimum levels?   Seek out a mentor or role model.  Just as an apprentice carpenter studies under a journeyman, you too should seek out those competent and confident instructors or practitioner/officers whose skill you want to emulate.  Hold your instructors accountable.  As long as you’re doing your part by applying yourself, you have the right to say to the instructor, “This is not relevant.  There is too much downtime.  I need more time and repetitions.”  Be professional, be respectful but hold them accountable.  If you are paying your own way (paying the instructor’s salary) then express your concerns to the academy commander.  Do not accept driving programs conducted with leased compact cars, minimum rounds fired at the range, too few repetitions and unrealistic suspect control techniques.

Take what you get in basic and in-service training and add to it by investing some of your own time and money in learning these life-saving skills.  Read, subscribe to professional police journals, invest in your own survival.

In Sum 

No one ever won a fight for their life, survived a high-speed pursuit or emerged unscathed from a violent resisting arrest encounter by training to the minimum levels at a “diploma mill,” at least not based on that training.  We owe it to our officers to properly prepare them.  We owe it to our citizens to field the most highly trained officers we can.  This is not accomplished by lowering the bar to minimum levels.  The risks to our officers are too great!  Administrators, academy commanders and trainers get your heads out of your derrieres and start relevant and realistic training today that is repeated frequently enough to retain skills.  It is your duty and obligation to protect those officers under your charge whom you train.  A stark, unyielding reality is what our officers will encounter on the street not some minimum resistance illusion we perpetuated by deluding ourselves as to what the truth is. 

Officers, seek out the best training you can and then practice diligently and regularly.

 Now, let’s get to it!

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About The Author:

Kevin Davis is a full-time officer assigned to the training bureau where he specializes in use of force, firearms and tactical training. With over 23 years in law enforcement, his previous experience includes patrol, corrections, narcotics and he is a former team leader and lead instructor for his agency's SWAT team with over 500 call-outs in tactical operations.

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