Are you 'bingo' ready?

Submitted by:
Lt. Dan Marcou, PoliceOne Columnist


Recently I was speaking with Aaron Tomlinson, a police trainer at Fox Valley Technical College in Appleton, Wisconsin. He gave me permission to share with you an analogy he uses to prepare his recruits to stay alert on the contacts they will make in their future career.

To paraphrase, Aaron tells them that the day-to-day contacts an officer makes on the street are much like the game of Bingo.

Each number called out is like a call for service answered, leading them toward “bingo” — the inevitable confrontation that lies ahead.

Poised Like a Panther
He asks students if they have ever watched a 78 year old lady play Bingo.  While fully engaged she sits on the edge of her chair poised like a panther ready to strike.  As each number is called her eyes squint as they thoroughly scan each card she holds so as not to miss a number, attempting to stay one step ahead of her opponents.

This gray-haired granny knows that if she gets lackadaisical, zones out, or just plain snoozes she loses. She stays alert, and pays attention because the next number called might be a “Bingo!”

Bingo Ready
No matter how proficient in professionally communicating with members of the public an officer becomes, the next physical confrontation lies irrevocably in the future for every police officer as “Bingo” is in every game of Bingo.

Ask yourself, “Am I bingo-ready throughout every contact? Am I at least as alert as a 78-year-old Grandma playing ‘Bingo’?” 

You should be — your life depends on it.

Remember, confrontation for you is as inevitable on the street as “bingo” in the game of that same name. Unlike Bingo it is not a game that you are playing. Like Bingo, however there is no second place on the street.

You have to be — at all times — bingo-ready.

Got the message?

You did?


Lt. Dan Marcou is an active, nationally-recognized, police trainer, who was a highly-decorated police officer with 33 years of full time law enforcement experience. In November 2006, Lt. Dan Marcou retired from the La Crosse, Wisconsin Police Department, where he had achieved the rank of Lieutenant, Director of Training. He served in the capacity of patrol his entire career, insisting on personally assisting in the field training of all new recruits.

"Lt. Dan" served as a Tactical Operator, Team Leader, and Officer in Charge of the La Crosse Police Department Emergency Response Team. He was also commander of the nationally recognized La Crosse Police Department Emergency Response Team, which developed what some call the “La Crosse Method,” of Crowd Control. He also is a trained negotiator and served in this capacity, which led him to be presented with the Distinguished Service Award from the City of Oak Creek, for assisting them effectively with an Active Shooter on November 5, 2004. This episode has been documented in Charles Remsberg’s book Blood Lessons.

Highly-decorated by the La Crosse Police Department, Dan proudly served there for 29 and one half years, receiving 15 departmental citations, three Chief’s Superior Achievement Awards, Police Officer of the Year, SWAT Officer of the Year, and Domestic Abuse Law Enforcement Officer of the year as well as Humanitarian of the Year.

Dan has achieved national recognition as a trainer for his innovations in Crowd Control, Defensive Tactics, Live Interactive Firearms Training, and his Five Phases of the Active Shooter. Marcou is a Master Trainer for the State of Wisconsin and he trains all levels of police officers from entry level to upper management in Defensive Tactics, Firearms, SWAT, Ethics, Supervisory Excellence and many other topics. Dan is also a graduate of the 175 FBI National Academy.

His first novel, The Calling the Making of a Veteran Cop was published by Thunder Bay Press in 2007 and is being lauded as not only an excellent training aid for Criminal Justice Classes and Academies, but a good read. It is being read by cops world wide and made the best seller list at Barnes and Noble as well as achieving a five star rating.

Lt. Marcou’s second novel, S.W.A.T. Blue Knights in Black Armor has been acclaimed for its depiction of police as they really are, modern knights. Marcou's third novel, Nobody's Heroes, has just been released and is already being met with critical praise. The reality he breathes into his police novels comes from having lived the life. All three of Dan's novels are are available through Barnes and Noble and For additional information check out his website.

Contact Dan Marcou

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