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Confrontation Management: The 10 commandments of officer survival

The Ten Commandments of Officer Survival

#1 - Thou Shalt Not Not Train.

#2 - Thou Shalt Not Defeat Thyself.

#3 - Thou Shalt Not Give Up.

#4 - Thou Shalt Not Fear Fear.

#5 - Thou Shalt Not Telegraph Your Intentions.

#6 - Thou Shalt Not Lose The Street Fight.

#7 - Thou Shalt Not Invite Disaster.

#8 - Thou Shalt Not Kill Unless It Is Absolutely necessary.

#9 - Thou Shalt Not Settle For Mediocrity.

#10 - Thou Shalt Not Presume Compliance.

Commandment #1

Thou Shalt Not Not Train.

My friend, Officer Jeff Chudwin once commented to me, "The military trains and trains and trains and rarely fights, whereas police officers fight and fight and fight, but rarely train."

There are a few theories that "try" to explain why most police do not train with the same integrity and intensity as their military cousins. The only valid one is that budget restraints and time restraints make it difficult. But that’s still no excuse. One of my students from the RCMP, Luc Cantera, runs 4 times a week, shoots, grapples and spars on a regular basis. His perspective: He wants to be ready any time, any place and at a moments notice.

Imagine, for a moment, getting seriously injured during a call. Imagine the impact on your confidence, pride and attitude. Imagine if you were hurt and couldn’t train or possibly go to work for several weeks. And imagine if when you "physically" recovered you were gun-shy. Imagine all this.

This scenario is a fantasy of course (or perhaps a nightmare). But it need not be. "Totality" in your training is simply about being thorough, about taking violence seriously and training appropriately. I always tell my students, "If I am to lose, let me lose to the superior fighter. Let me lose because he was better than I was. Not because I was worse than him."

Coach Bear Bryant said, "The will to win, compares little with the will to prepare to win." That ‘s one of my favorite quotes. Training is part of the job and you better take it seriously, because today’s sociopath is far more dangerous than ever before. Defensive tactics skills are perishable. If you don’t use them, you’ll lose them and the absence of your physical confidence when you need it most, could be the difference between you going home or to the hospital.

You can’t not train and expect to be your best at a moment’s notice. Boxers agree to fight 3 months in advance to prepare for a contest. We don’t have that luxury. "You can’t fake endurance."

Remember this: most calls involve subjects who will comply, but not because they think you are very skilled at self-protection, they comply because they choose to, because you are the police. Understanding the difference is crucial. The motivated resister is responsible for officer injuries. Ask yourself this: "Did I control my last physical confrontation because of my superior training, or did I control it because my opponent lacked training?"

Policing with integrity is a huge responsibility. If you are going to be given that responsibility, you better have the ability to respond. A police officer is warrior of peace and must train like a warrior. Take every aspect of your training seriously: cardiovascular, strength, stamina, simple close quarter skills, control & cuffing tactics, weapon retention and drawing and shooting - anything that enhances your survivability.

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