Anyone who’s ever met Big Jim Reifinger knows two things: The retired police firearms and defensive tactics/subject control officer knows his business and he’s not the kind to keep his mouth shut. Considering his size and formidable appearance, Reifinger doesn’t have to keep his opinions to himself. A Marine (and note, I didn’t say “former” Marine because once a Marine, always a Marine) who served as a sniper in Vietnam and a cop who rarely had to give orders to a suspect more than once, he’s smart, opinionated, and usually right when it comes to police combat tactics.
Recently Reifinger posted some thoughts on the spate of questions involving police shootings on social media. I thought them worth sharing.
Because of his background, Reifinger says, he can’t help but be concerned about questionable shootings in Chicago and other cities. And he wonders how many of these officers, after graduating from the academy, are subject to any training beyond static square range qualification firing, which, as he puts it, is in itself not training but simply qualification. He continues with a few talking points and questions (with minor editing):
- How many of these agencies run any scenario-based training with role players or simulators on a recurring basis?
- Are these officers receiving training and practice with the dynamics (movement) of real encounters, with both good and bad guys in close proximity? Are they trained to work as a team (using scenario based dynamic incidents) when there are two or more officers present?
- There is nothing new here. It’s all been addressed before, even by the Supreme Court in the mid Eighties (Popow vs City of Margate, a New Jersey case where the court gave guidance to LE agencies to train well beyond mere qualification). I know for a fact many agencies do not do this and my gut feeling is that many of these agencies, with leadership who are already anti-gun and not tactical minded, could care less about affording this training to all of their officers recurrently.
- The Washington D.C. police was a great example of this some years back where it was found that many street officers hadn’t been to the range in years, even just for qualification and familiarization (and) some jurisdictions don’t even require night/reduced light firing and qualification. To me, that’s failure to train; failure to maintain standards; and, in my opinion, criminal negligence.
- Static square range time is all but worthless beyond entry-level basic marksmanship training. It has no value for preparing an officer (or anyone for that matter) for real world dynamic encounters.
- Leadership has always started at the top…and maybe that’s where the inquiries, investigations and answers to this problem should start. I’ve always used this analogy for leadership: Troops are just like electricity—they will always take the route of least resistance—and uncontrolled, can and will go in any direction. We, their leaders, must be the generators and conduit pipes to initiate the proper force, and always keep it going in the right direction.
- That can only be achieved by recurrent, proper, and realistic training with corrective supervision. What is sad is, like I said, there is nothing new here. ■
Since retirement, Jim founded OSADefense.
His motto: “If you find yourself in a fair fight, your tactics suck.”