Police warriors: Servants of the peace

Record numbers of law enforcement officers are being killed and in order to survive, a certain mindset must be maintained


Recently I was on a police website forum discussing law enforcement tactics and officer survival. One individual wrote that “cops aren’t warriors nor should they be. Perhaps take a class on sociology, the role of police in a society, criminal justice.” That individual also said I should check out Robert Peel and principles for modern policing.” My immediate thought was that this person was not a law enforcement officer. Furthermore, this person did not understand what a true warrior is.

A warrior protects society — they are servants. They put themselves in harm’s way. To do this they must be properly trained. The skills needed for officer survival are perishable, hence the need for continual training. A warrior treats people fairly and with respect. Again, they are there to protect and devote their resources to deterring crime and apprehending criminals. A warrior operates under a strict set of rules. There is a use of force matrix in place and the warrior follows these guidelines. Warriors are not stat driven. Warriors are enthusiastic about their role in society. They understand that all life is precious.

A War on Our Streets
Not everyone is attacking the police, but to those who are, warriors are needed to protect each other and the citizens of their responsible areas. Record numbers of law enforcement officers are being killed and in order to survive, a certain mindset must be maintained.

What was the norm in 1829 when Robert Peel established the Metropolitan Police Force in London has changed. Yes the basic premise such as officers are issued badges, are accountable for their actions, seek public approval and co-existed within society still remain the same. But Peel could never have envisioned how violent society has become and the additional responsibilities that are tasked to law enforcement in the 21st century.

After thinking about what was originally written in that forum, I believe the writer is confused and somehow convinced that being a warrior is being a bully. That is very far from the truth. Being disciplined, being suspicious, being inquisitive, being thorough, may seem a bit heavy handed to the uninformed. In reality these are the attributes of survival. Nobody calls the police when they are having a good day.

As Paul Whitesell stated, “We are the only animal that goes into anther’s lair to conduct business. Ever go to a circus? There is a reason the lion tamers are in the ring first. It is to establish dominance. If not, you would be witnessing a different show.”

In order to maintain peace, a warrior must have command presence. Command presence does not mean being rude, condescending or brutal. It means demonstrating that one is prepared for confrontation, if it happens, then one is knowledgeable and portrays professionalism. Isn’t that what a victim wants when the police respond?

Being a Warrior is Not Negative
Peel’s most often quote is “The police are the public and the public are the police.” Law enforcement officers are hired from the public, then trained to perform the task of policing their fellow citizens. Enforcing laws to fellow citizens is one of the most difficult jobs. In a free society, people are to obey the laws they have created and they must support the group they have hired to enforce those laws. On occasion criminals do not freely submit to this authority. It is at these times a warrior is needed. The warrior that is properly trained knows that they are held accountable for their actions, understands the rules of engagement, and have the confidence to be in harm’s way.

A warrior displays pride in their profession, seeks to better themselves, and understands the challenges and hardships of law enforcement.

To this forum participant, I say, go to your local police department and request a ride along. See your city through the windshield of a marked police car.

About the author

Marty Katz is a retired sergeant with the Broward Sheriff’s Office in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. During his 34-year career, his assignments included field training officer, SWAT team member, undercover narcotics detective, academy instructor street crime suppression unit and supervisor of Recruitment, Criminal investigations and Patrol. Marty is a Florida Department of Law Enforcement certified instructor (Firearms, Defensive Tactics, Driving, First Responder, Ethics and Human Diversity), Expert Witness for Use of Force issues, a member of ILEETA, and past Florida Chapter Director for the International Association of Ethics Trainers In addition, Marty has trained in Japan with the Tokyo Metropolitan Riot Police and is a martial arts instructor.

Marty is owner and chief instructor of Crimewave Solutions, a training company for officer survival and common sense self defense. His first book, Past the Uniform, was published in 2008.

Contact Marty Katz

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