In our last two articles we talked about walls of light and black holes and the hazards these types of conditions can create for us on patrol. The main point was to raise awareness and increase our safety in lowlight environments - whether or not they are born at night or in daylight.
We should also be aware that our tactics never get replaced by technology, such as night vision, tactical lighting, or thermal imaging. We must always remember to stay behind cover or remain concealed while we employ these technologies. Some of us forget this rule when we are in lowlight situations, which can become extremely dangerous since bullets don't care about the dark and don't mind flying at night. If there are no cover or concealment options, keep your DISTANCE! We are not just scanning for threats, but we are also scanning for points of cover in our world at all times.
Another tactic we should employ, if we have the means, is the use of a safety officer. By that I mean, someone who is watching your back and covering the threat with a weapon and tactical light and is ready should the need arise. It's easy for an operator using night vision or a thermal imager to get wrapped up in viewing the screen and get clumsy.
Try to avoid using tactical lights until necessary. Once we turn on tactical lights, we let the bad guy know we are there and where we are. Better to be in the unknown to the bad guy until we can better assess the situation and determine a tactical plan.
We have talked about walls of light being used against us, but we can also use them to our advantage. With our tactical lighting or spotlights on our vehicle, we can blind or confuse our target. We can move closer to our target or move to cover behind the wall of light that we have created.
Use light to DECIEVE! I stole this from my coworker and I loved the idea. We call it the Prison Break. Have you ever seen the movie "Stalag 17" or some type of prison movie where the prisoner tries to escape at night? As the prisoner attempts to escape in the dark, he waits until the spotlight passes by him. He sees this as an opportunity to run or move to another hiding place, hoping that the operator of the search light is looking in the direction of the light and not in the direction of the escapee.
In the real world when a bad guy is hit with a light, he either freezes or runs. Try this next time you think you may know where a suspect is hiding. Have everyone turn their lights to the opposite area of interest and have an officer scan the real area of attention with a thermal imager. Most suspects will run or start moving away from the cops once they think you are looking elsewhere. BINGO! Use these ideas to come up with your own deception in the dark!