08 April 2013

AAR Total Officer Survival Lake Metroparks Painesville OH 4/5 APR 2013


Over the course of two days of training, we worked on the development of full integration mindset, training, and tools for the officer to use from initial offender contact up to the use of deadly force.  Here is some of what we covered-

Day I
Use of Force
Defining the modern police mission
The Root of Excessive Force
Constant Tactical Positioning
MCS Contact & Cover Positions
MCS Pat Down & Cuffing
Passive Restraint Tactics
Edged Weapons Bad Guys Carry
Spontaneous Attack Survival
MCS Ground Survival
MCS Baton Tactics

Day II Combative Pistol
Trained vs the Untrained Mind
Intentional vs Default Targeting
The need for one handed pistol work
Drawing in response to furtive movement instead of noise
3 Foot Gunfight (airsoft)
How to get cut with a knife at 21 feet by fixating on using your pistol
How not to get cut at 5 feet by using your pistol in combination with open hand combatives
Weapon retention in the holster
Weapon retention out of the holster
Drawing your firearm after being knocked down
The three types of contact environments
The three types of stops

Patrol Tactics

The three types of environments
The three types of contacts
Right shoulder traffic stop
Left shoulder traffic stop
MCS High Risk Traffic Stop
Patrol Tactic Scenarios

Over the years I have trained with police all over the country, pretty much the difference is the uniform and patches.  When it comes to training, the one thing that always stands out are the lack of options provided to the officer for violence within arms reach; whether it erupts during the field interview or upon making the first physical contact to pat down or cuffs.

The number one thing I hear from bosses is "don't let anyone get hurt".  Too bad we cannot get real criminals to cooperate.  Maybe they will do it right after they turn in their guns for a gift card to Best Buy.  There are lots of handcuffing and defensive tactics courses out there, and they all go out of their way to be different and add things.  Doing this is exactly what gets officers hurt and killed.  The officers are usually sent to these often 3 days to a week long class and are expected to bring the information back and share it, sometimes weeks or months later, and in fact it, sometimes never.  If they had a great instructor who delivered 80% of the information to them, and they get to share it right away then maybe they deliver 60% of the original content.  After that it just keeps on going down.  We will not even talk about how this is affected by the attitudes of those they train.  This is why officers hesitate and fail within arms reach, where we spend the most time with offenders.

Training has to be comprised of Principle Based Responses.  One thing officers hear me say over and over again is "submission by position", always dominate, and always be intentional.  Never give the offender the idea that he is in a good position to resist.

When we go to pistol work using a Blue Gun (which every officer should be issued along with their weapon) and Airsoft you can see the toll that square range training takes on street readiness.  Across the board we see officers time and again under stress, regardless of type and distance to the threat, immediately draw into a two handed grip and backpedal without any consideration in reference to what is behind them.  This is the primary reason officers fail at the 21 foot drill.  Under stress muscles contract, not expand, and once they get the support hand on their pistol they don't let go.  This removes their ability to evade/block/or trap the weapon hand of the attack.  Moving backwards results in a fall flat on your ass, or slamming into a wall or vehicle.

Also alarming to me is that many officers are not trained to deploy their pistol from the ground after falling or being knocked down, or making contact shots into the offender if justified.

One good thing that I have noticed is that most officers now have experienced force on force training using airsoft and Simmunitions, but more needs to be done.  My primary issue with Simmunions is that most police involved shootings occur well within the the minimal distance Simmunitions can safely be used.  They are also expensive.

Many agencies have purchased and are using airsoft, but much of their use seems to be dedicated to scenarios.  Even short scenarios can take several minutes to act out, and that means students are just standing around.  During our classes, we use a combination of approximately 75% drills and 25% scenarios.  Most drills take about 3-5 seconds just like the real thing, and most are done at 3-5 feet.

Many of us who work or have worked in more populated areas have had the luxury of back up only being minutes away.  Many of the officers in this class were Park Rangers operating one man patrols in secluded areas where bad guys often hide.  Their self reliance generally showed in their motivation during the course.

I would like to thank the Lake Metroparks Rangers for showing their commitment to their brothers and sisters in law enforcement by hosting Total Officer Survival for the second year in a row.  Hopefully we will see you next year.  Stay Safe- George


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