The "ready round" — What to say to a survivor

Part of an officer’s stress inoculation process is to make up their mind — ahead of time — what they will do when a critical incident occurs. Whether that’s engaging an active shooter, as Sgt. Mark Todd and Sgt. Kimberly Munley (both civilian officers with the Department of Army), did when they stopped the murderous rampage of Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan, or something entirely different, the key is to be prepared for the unexpected.

Lt. Col. Dave Grossman, the author of On Killing  and On Combat, writes in Chapter Six of On Combat  that “the right response to a survivor is to say simply, ‘I’m so glad you’re okay.’ That the person survived the ordeal and is okay is all that matters.”

Grossman says further that an officer involved in a shooting doesn’t need to hear “good shooting” or “the bastard had it coming” or “we’ll get you a good lawyer.” Instead, says Grossman, the message should be: “I give a damn about you, and I’m glad you’re okay.”

Calling this the “ready round,” Col. Grossman says this is the one that’s “in the chamber ready to go when you do not know what to say or do. You simply let the person know that you care about him and are glad he is okay.”

PoliceOne thanks Lt. Col. Dave Grossman and the men and women of Killology Research Group for giving us permission to reprint this excerpt of Grossman’s excellent book.

About the author

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. 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). Doug 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.

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  1. Tags
  2. Health - Physical and Mental Fitness
  3. Officer-Involved Shootings
  4. Patrol Issues

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