5 New Year commitments police officers should make
Resolve to start off the New Year with five commitments that will set the foundation for the year to come
By Lawrence Lujan, P1 Contributor
- Resolution | re-zə-ˈlü-shən | a decision or determination
- Commitment | kəˈmitmənt | the state or quality of being dedicated to a cause, activity, etc.
The New Year is here and many people will make resolutions that while verbalized, are never kept or even started. Instead, resolve to start off this year with five commitments that will set the foundation for the year to come.
1. Get functionally fit
If you do not regularly take part in some type of physical activity, commit to doing so on a regular basis. This could be a defensive tactics course, running, lifting, functional fitness or yoga for first responders.
When you can’t get to or apply your tools in law enforcement, your safety will come down to going hands on. Strength, skill and endurance are what get police officers through these physical events. Do yourself a favor and take care of your health and get fit.
2. Regularly qualify
Run your agency qual course for all weapon systems (pistol, patrol rifle and, yes, shotgun) and for your off-duty carry.
Do some real-world weapons practice such as weapons transition, reloads, shooting on the move and shooting from cover.
3. Clean your guns
Guns are a police officer’s first and in some cases, last line of defense.
Start the New Year off by conducting a thorough and complete breakdown, inspection and cleaning of your weapons.
Check for broken gas rings and other broken or damaged parts. If you don’t know how to do this, take your guns to someone who knows how to do so for you (all agencies have that one person).
4. Check your gear
Take a look at your Sam Browne and your TAC vest. Make sure your current set up still fits you and your needs. If not, take it apart and set it up so that it does. Under stress, your hands should naturally go to where your kit is on your belt or vest.
Team leaders should have their teams safely unload their side arms and remove the TASER cartridge from their TASER, then run them through dry runs.
Call out the tool, for example, “Baton.” Officers should immediately deploy the tool called out without having to search and rummage with both hands while looking to retrieve it. This is a great monthly drill.
Replace the batteries to your flashlight, pistol and rifle light. Replace your old nitrile gloves with new ones. Inspect your tourniquet and other medical equipment to make sure they are in working condition. Practice applying your tourniquet.
If you carry a window punch, make sure it functions and isn’t fouled with debris.
Clean, disinfect and lubricate your handcuffs.
5. Commit to serving and surviving
Start the New Year and every day by committing to survival and service. Write yourself a note and post it where you will see it. Repeat and commit to what it says each time you suit up: I will serve my community – no matter what may come, I will overcome and I will survive!
Team leaders can remind everyone of why they serve by having them recite their oath of honor, agency mission statement and core values.
Don't forget, you can commit to changing your life any day of the year. Whether you are starting a new job or duty assignment, working with a new partner, getting a promotion or returning from a military assignment, follow these five steps for success.
This article, originally published 1/3/2018, has been updated with current information.
About the author
Lawrence Lujan is a field and training sergeant with 27 years of service with the El Paso Police Department. A long-time member of the SWAT team, he served as both member and team leader. He brings a unique set of skills to the law enforcement arena and has a varied background in leadership, firearms, international training and operational tactics. He is the editor-in-chief for Tactical Solutions Magazine (Journal of the International Tactical Training Association).