14 simple rules for patrol

Submitted by:
PoliceOne Senior Editor Doug Wyllie


PoliceOne recently received the following list of 14 patrol “rules” from one of our good friends with the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department. All of these concepts have made their way individually around the Internet in some form or another, but we don’t remember seeing all of them collected in one place — at least like this short list. What should be rule #15? Add your own tip in the comments area below.

#1 — Wear your body armor.

#2 — Maintain a good level of shooting skills and proficiency with all your weapons systems: handgun, shotgun, and patrol rifle.

#3 — If necessary, purchase your own ammunition. An agency’s budget may not adequately prepare you for a shootout.

#4 — Practice training unconventionally. Develop one-handed, support-side, or weak-handed weapons manipulation skills, i.e. loading and malfunction drills.

#5 — Be polite and be professional, but have a plan to kill everyone you meet.

#6 — Treat every self initiated activity or call for service as a potential ambush. This includes meal breaks.

#7 — Carry and use a gun that works every time. All of your skills are in vain if your gun doesn’t work.

#8 — Carry a backup. Guns are often hit and disabled, lost, or taken away.

#9 — Carry spare magazines and ammunition, in a firefight it never hurts to have more. Anyone who has been in a shooting will tell you that ammunition goes fast.

#10 — Be aggressive and quick.

#11 — Gunfights evolve rapidly. Have a plan, but be flexible for changes.

#12 — If you are not actually shooting, you should be reloading, communicating and gaining a tactical advantage.

#13 — Develop plans with your patrol partners, the old “what if” scenarios. Find out who carries what in their trunks.

#14 — Never give up despite the number of times you’ve been shot.

#15 — What should be rule #15? Add your tip in the comments below.

Doug Wyllie is Editor in Chief of PoliceOne, responsible for setting the editorial direction of the website and managing the planned editorial features by our roster of expert writers. An award-winning columnist — he is the 2014 Western Publishing Association "Maggie Award" winner in the category of Best Regularly Featured Digital Edition Column — Doug has authored more than 900 feature articles and tactical tips on a wide range of topics and trends that affect the law enforcement community.

On a daily basis, Doug is in close personal contact with some of the top subject-matter experts in law enforcement, regularly tapping into the world-class knowledge of officers and trainers from around the United States, and working to help spread that information and insight to the hundreds of thousands of officers who visit PoliceOne every month.

Doug is a member of International Law Enforcement Educators and Trainers Association (ILEETA), an Associate Member of the California Peace Officers' Association (CPOA), and a member of the Public Safety Writers Association (PSWA).

Even in his "spare" time, he is active in his support for the law enforcement community, contributing his time and talents toward police-related charitable events as well as participating in force-on-force training, search-and-rescue training, and other scenario-based training designed to prepare cops for the fight they face every day on the street.

Contact Doug Wyllie

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