Can you, your attitude or approach to your duties actually work against you on the street in your own survival? You bet, from a lack of study on the law and recent court decisions to engaging in a qualification mindset at the range and much more, you can build negative walls, barricades or barriers. Let’s examine the common personal roadblocks officers erect to prevent them from achieving full preparedness, self-protection and ability.
- Ego – We all have one and most of the hard chargers I hang with are pretty self-assured and self-confidant people. That said, don’t let your ego prevent you from, A) Learning anything new, or B) Acknowledging your skills aren’t where they need to be or have diminished. Arriving late and unprepared with the equipment you need to training is indicative of an ego driven attitude which says, this in unimportant. So too is going through the motions instead of actually working up a sweat while engaging in repetitions of life saving skills.
Humble yourself to the training. Set your aside your ego, learn and improve. Open yourself up to learning something or engaging in repetitions to keep your skills smooth. Understand that training is the lifeblood of the LEO and there is always something new to learn or something that is stale which needs maintenance. Don’t get “lot rot” as un-driven cars and un-flown planes get when sitting dormant.
- Time – There are 24 hours in each day and each week equals seven days. That said you must find some time between 12:01 a.m. on Sunday night and midnight on Saturday to invest in keeping your backside alive and kicking. Yes home chores, extra jobs, kid ball games and relaxing with the family are important but this J.O.B. is different than the ones held by others. There are people out there you will kill you if you give them the opportunity or your skills are not up to stopping them.
A small investment of your time in skill development and maintenance, professional development as well as attention to your weapons and equipment will pay off when the fecal material meets the wind pusher. You don’t pay the price for preparation; you reap the benefits – pure and simple. Five minutes of your time spent practicing a skill – draw-stroke, baton strike, empty hand control technique, whatever – can vastly improve your abilities as well as keep your skills fresh. The question is if five minutes can make a difference, how about 15 minutes three times a week?
- Equipment – Recently I’ve seen some serious errors applied by officers in the approach to their equipment such as: Pistols improperly cleaned with too much solvent applied. This leads to a sticky sludge build-up which slows or stops firing pins and strikers. Never apply solvent directly to your pistol but rather apply to a brush or patch and then clean your handgun.
Holsters need to be inspected and replaced as needed. I’ve seen too many holsters that are “de-laminating” from daily carry. Not only is this an unprofessional appearance it is an indicator to dangerous suspects that the officer is not prepared. They think – this officer doesn’t take care of equipment which means in a thug’s mind he is unprepared to defend himself.
Missing, broken or equipment in poor condition cannot aid you in your survival. It has to be on your person or accessible, in working order and able to withstand an intense application. Flashlights need to be bright and functional, handcuffs operating smoothly, baton and OC spray working and on your belt and more.
This stuff only takes care of you when you take care of it!
- Commitment – When you raised your hand and took that oath upon being sworn in you were committed and determined. Fresh out of the academy you were in shape and focused on your career in law enforcement. But as time and experience goes on, commitment oftentimes wanes. What was once a laser like commitment to be one’s best begins to blur with life’s other pulls and pushes as well as cynicism.