Symptom = Complacency; Disease = ??

Unfortunately, an analysis that makes learning possible from these terrible events requires a deeper understanding of the root causes of such things as complacency, improper positioning, missed body language, or the myriad other causes of harm to law...

In traffic stop after traffic stop where the threats have not been reinforced the officer begins to stop doing the steps to balance the threats.  The officer is becoming “detrained by routine!”  In video after video we see the affect routine has had on officers with tragic results.  Lackadaisical frisks, bizarre handcuffing techniques, no searches, poor positioning and on and on.  All because routine has taken the “thrill” out of an arrest or a search or a chase, the basic principles of officer safety and training have gone away; making routine the deadliest trainer there is.  It makes your “risk” temperature feel colder so you turn your thermostat up!  You start taking chances by failing to control the risks with our trained behaviors, our good habits.

So how do we counter routine’s constant pressure to stop doing our “balancing behaviors” to mitigate our risks?  First, we need good in-service training using contextual scenarios and great sensation stimulators like simunition or airsoft.  Make sure these are intense, emotional, and safe.  This training is essentially a recharger for the emotional component of safety, putting the “pucker” back in the “factor!”

Also, each of you should regularly watch in-car or body camera action and visualize yourself in the scene.  What would you do when the gun appears, the suspect flees, the deer jumps out, or the shot is fired?  This is refreshing both your rational and emotional brains and helps inoculate you against routine.

I have avoided terms like Limbic, or Parasympathetic, or Cognitive or any of a dozen other terms we don’t remember ten minutes after reading; just remember your brain has a rational drive and an emotional drive, and emotion tends to run the show, so it must be recharged from time to time.  That is why, after the dirtbag jumps out of his car and then tries to whip your fanny and you have applied the “appropriate” force, and placed him in the back of the transport unit take a moment to thank him for the training and stopping the affect of routine!


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