By Yelena Pawela
Yelena Pawela is a former K-9 handler who worked in Narcotics and SWAT (Moscow Region police department, Russia). She was invited to this country to cross train with Palm Beach Sheriff’s Office, FL. She now owns and operates Y-Training in Florida, teaching use of force to both sworn and non-sworn citizens. She has survived several lethal force encounters, once unarmed against five knife-wielding men. Her website is www.ytraining.com.
My heart sank as I read the story “The Lessons of the Julie Jacks Murder” in the Police Officers Safety Association Journal of Tactics and Training, 3rd, quarter, 2004. Since I am no longer a police officer I am free to make “objectionable” statements without the fear of political retribution and backlash. Because fellow police trainer; our own department training policies are exactly what are getting police officers killed – all in the name of “political correctness.” First and foremost let’s first analyze why a 5’3”, 120 pound female police officer felt compelled to give chase to a bigger person, one described as an “escaped mental patient,” without waiting for sufficient back up.
I will explain why. Ever since 1972 with the passage of the Equal Opportunity Employment Act Title VII, prohibiting employment discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, sex or national origin, all police training standards were merged and lumped together – one standard for all in the name of “political correctness.” The only problem: it does not work! You know why? Men are still training women to fight like men and…it simply does not work! This does not mean a female police officer cannot learn to fight for her life – it is just means she has to do it differently than her male counterparts.
An example of this occurred in 1980. The FBI had to revise their firearms training program because the standards that were in place were designed around a man’s physical characteristics, and the standards could not be met by some female FBI recruits (see Christine Hansen, et al v. Federal Bureau of Investigation). Was the problem that a women could not shoot? Not at all. Women simply could not shoot the issued Smith & Wesson K Frame revolver (model 10, 19, etc), which was built for a man’s hands. Putting a slimmer sized semiautomatic pistol in their hands gives a woman gives the same opportunity as her male counterparts.
This type of testosterone-laced behavior is still active and present in police training today. Too many officers love it when a smaller woman officer has difficulties with 12 gauge shotgun during training and qualification. This despite the fact that most men are not proficient with this gun! What’s the alternative? How about a 20 gauge shotgun for the smaller officer? Does the delivery of a 20 gauge not match the ballistic force of two .44 Magnum rounds at once? While having half the recoil of the 12 gauge? Or why not just issue the smaller statured officer a .223 rifle? But hey, if you cannot handle a Man’s gun you are not worthy to be a police officer in the first place! And doesn’t that same pathetic logic trickle down in almost every use of force subject to include DT?
This subject is covered from seasoned police women’s point of view in Connie Fletcher’s book “Breaking and Entering - What Cops Know.Women Cops Break the Code of Silence to tell their Stories from the Inside.”
This brings me to why Officer Jacks may have felt compelled to pursue a much larger suspect without waiting for proper back up: she was taught DT that was designed with men in mind. Don’t believe me? Consider this country’s most popular DT systems. Who founded PPCT? A man did (Bruce Siddle—and did any one ever take a look at the size of that man’s arms?) Also: who brought the Red Man training program to law enforcement? A man did, and not just any man but rather big man by the name of Gary Klugiewicz, who just also happens to compete in full contact karate matches. Can anyone name me one female Gracie practitioner who fought successfully against men? Once again, from the points of view of the seasoned law enforcement women in Connie Fletchers book:
“The bottom line is – everybody wants to be accepted. They want to be part of the family. And anything that threatens that acceptance, which means rocking the boat or confronting somebody on something that they have done, threatens that acceptance.” That is why I believe that Officer Jacks chased that suspect - because of political correctness. She was told, and believed that, she could fight just as well as any man because she received the same type of training that men did. I have no doubt that Officer Jacks was an outstanding police officer, with as much fortitude as her male counterparts. Even the two respected police officers debating how she handled the fight which ended her life in the original article are men!
Let me tell you what a woman knows: No amount of DT training would have made a difference in that particular circumstance; not PPCT, not Red Man training and especially not Gracie Ground fighting. The only kind of training that would have benefited Officer Jacks in that situation is biting the living @#$% out of that suspect (which can be done using a shirt wrapped in a pot roast, but it isn’t politically correct to teach cops how to bite, is it?) What she should have been taught is how to go to her secondary back up weapon while fighting on the ground, and either shooting the suspect or stabbing the suspect with a knife.
Yet you won’t find either one of those scenarios taught in Gracie Ground fighting and you can not tell your departmental policy makers that you want to train your officers how to insert a knife in the eye socket, throat, genitals, or stomach of a perpetrator, nor train them how to shoot a suspect with a back up gun in the same manner. That just would not be politically correct, would it? Here’s how foolish it gets: we can’t even use fake blood in training scenarios, can you? Blood is almost always present in real life altercations, but we would not want to upset anyone in training, would we?
Please don’t tell me about the “Never Give Up” attitude in training either. Too many times that particular advice is exactly what gives officers a false sense of security. They come to believe that they “can survive at all costs,” while the reality is that this is not true.
Trainers don’t encourage their officers to engage multiple armed robbery suspects, armed with automatic weapons, by themselves, do they? Then what is it in our DT training that leads officers to believe that they can get away with apprehending suspects with out proper back up? Didn’t we learn any lessons from Young V. City of Killeen? What ever happened to the police motto “You’re not paid to get into fights, you are paid to stop them”…which means waiting for back up to better handle the situation. Now that is the politically correct thing to do…and the common sense thing to do, too.