Eat right and exercise. That’s a pretty common nugget of advice for anyone seeking wellness. But exercise is a personal thing, which leaves lots of room for interpretation. You have to do what’s right for you. Back when I was a bonafide "gym member" I found myself basically going through the motions on a treadmill while gazing longingly out the window at the people who were physically outside. I decided I’d rather be "out there" than "in here". It became clear my body had a hard time getting into any sort of routine because my mind wasn’t fully engaged. If I am to walk or run or jog or paddle effectively, I need to change things up and experience the sights, sounds and smells around me. In short, I need to forget I am exercising.
Training to improve a skill set on the job is similar. There’s a lot of stuff out there—a lot of ways to train—but it’s probably most beneficial to personalize it as much as you can, while keeping an end goal in mind. Law enforcement training can be particularly immersive. When we toured the brand-new iCOMBAT advanced laser tag facility back in June (read more about it on page 16) it was kind of like a big-kid playground. There were all sorts of niches carved out depicting the streets of Baghdad. Actor “suspects” lurked around, and players armed with scale replicas of the AR15/M16/M4 rifle had to seek him out. The place was built for entertaining, but it’s wired for serious learning, too. It’s not your typical laser tag venue with black lights and bad weaponry; it’s a realistic place to test tactics.
Another good way to learn something is by simply talking with others who have a similar background. Retired ATF Agent Charlie Fuller found that to be true when he wanted to develop a more thorough, and useful practice for training undercover officers (Reflections of an undercover officer, page 20). Fuller found, through experience, there can be a lot of grey areas in this branch of policing and he wanted to get more ideas and best practices on the table.
Also in this issue, Keith Strandberg analyzes the current role of defensive tactics in police training (on 26). How realistic can you (safely) get (and this is really important)? And how has the popularity of Mixed Martial Arts changed the game? Don’t miss the companion how-to video series on Officer.com where Editor Frank Borelli tangles with defensive tactics instructor Richard Nance. They cover things like kick defense, bludgeon defense and weapon take-aways.
Finally, Lindsey Bertomen takes readers “in the hole” for specifics on close-quarters shooting drills you can try with minimal gear in Firearms Tactics (page 38).
You may not have time to vet a bunch of training tactics and new techniques. That’s why we’ve brought the training to you. Some you might already be doing. Some might inspire you. What does your agency consider its “tried and true” training MO—for patrol or special tactics? Send us a note to [email protected] and/or complete the "Defensive Tactics Training Poll” at www.officer.com/blog/ww033100.
In the meantime, keep on training…and train to win.