Allow me to share a funny tale. I heard it long ago and it will lead me into this blog topic nicely:
One bright day in the middle of the night
two dead boys got up to fight;
back to back they faced each other,
drew their swords and shot each other.
A deaf policeman heard the noise
and came to help the two dead boys.
If you don't believe this lie is true
ask the blindman; he saw it too!
Now it's easy to see all of the disagreeing concepts in that short (but semi-humorous) story. "Back to back they faced each other?" "A deaf policeman heard the noise?" As I recited that to my son this evening I couldn't help but think about how often the same difference in concepts exists when politicians, elected officials, administrators, etc. discuss law enforcement needs and budgeting. Allow me another brief trip back through memory lane... bear with me; this won't take long.
In April of 2003 I was honored to start a relationship with Blackwater, the well-known (then) 5,200 acre training facility in Moyock, NC. Blackwater was unique in ways most places don't consider trying to be. Given the amount of space they had to work with, and how fast they could accomplish projects, it wasn't a surprise to see them produce (as an example) a shipboard traning simulator in less than 30 days, or a 25-acre multi-level city, half laid out American, half laid out European, in under three months.
What gave them that ability? The simple answers are "will" and "funding."
In today's law enforcement world, society as a whole expects police officers to be "highly trained." We're supposed to be in Olympic level physical condition, possess fighting skills comparable to Bruce Lee, Jason Statham, Jet Li and Jackie Chan all in one BUT the patience and compassion to never use those skills if there's even the remotest chance another option will work. We're expected to be both expert marksman AND Constitutional Law scholars. We are expected to be both marriage counselors, referrees and ministers... and we're expected to accomplish all of that expertise in six months (or less) of attending the police academy followed by three days (or less) of training each year.
What amazes me is that, in light of all that expected training, sufficient budgets are rarely (if ever) provided AND no one has ever stopped to ask the trainers what they actually need to perfrm the training. If you agree with that statement, read on another moment - here's your chance to provide some info, at least as far as firearms training is concerned.
There is a study currently being performed in Maryland to determine the basic needs, desires and requirements for a firearms training facility. It's not a super in-depth study, but is a simple, "do you want this, would you pay for that" kind of study. The information gleaned will be used to develop a training facility and then (I expect) the information will be shared so that other trainers around the nation can use it to develop their new facilities (if they're lucky enough to get funding).
So, here's the link to the study: http://newmdrange.checkboxonline.com/Survey.aspx?s=9e39d1c3b9c741e38587cd75dd7225a2
It's a relatively quick and easy survey. Thank you for taking the time to complete it. Keep fighting the good fight to get the budgets you need to train your officers to stay alive and serve our communities professionally!