Shift Briefing Series: Tactical decision-making

Five-step model assists with making repeatable and defendable decisions


By David Pearson

The Shift Briefing Series is designed to provide law enforcement officers with short training videos that will help make them smarter, safer and more efficient in daily operations and when responding to critical incidents. The videos address key components of the Top 20 Concepts, a class I created and have presented around the country since 2011. The class addresses 20 foundational concepts in law enforcement that are based in law, policy and ethics, are repeatable and defensible, and assist with critical incident decision-making. Group discussion questions are listed after each video to help solidify the topics and ensure the application is in line with your department’s mission and values. 

This video discusses tactical decision-making (TDM) for law enforcement. Decision-making pitfalls are highlighted, followed by some considerations. The video also provides a decision-making model – P.I.E.T.O. – for use on everyday calls and tactical events. This five-step model assists with making repeatable and defendable decisions and is easy to remember. Each step is discussed in detail.


questions to consider

  1. What is the difference between “Legal – Noble Cause” and “Jeopardy – Noble Cause”? What are the similarities?
  2. Why is knowing the training, experience and capabilities of a team important in decision-making?
  3. How is the concept of the Four Cs (previous video) tied to Step #4: Pick the correct tools and tactics?
  4. Why are the Safety Priorities (previous video) so foundational to the TDM model?
  5. What are the benefits of using Murphy’s TDM model?

About the author
David Pearson is a lieutenant with Fort Collins Police Services in Fort Collins, Colorado. He has been a police officer since 1990 and held several assignments as a sergeant and lieutenant. He has been a law enforcement instructor since 1996 and has taught a variety of topics to include officer safety, SWAT tactics, active shooter and incident command.

Since 2005, David has been an instructor for the National Tactical Officers Association (NTOA) and has taught classes on several disciplines. David’s focus has been in less-lethal technology and tactics and he is the main instructor for the NTOA’s Less Lethal Instructor course. David has certified over 1,000 instructors in the United States and Canada in the less-lethal course. Since 2013, he has served in the role of Less Lethal Section Chair for the NTOA.

In 2017, David started his company, Rocky Mountain Blue Line Consulting, LLC, and provides expert witness assistance and consulting. David has presented at the annual conferences for APCO, NSA, IACP, California Chiefs, Utah Chief’s and Utah Sheriff’s Association.

David is a two-time Medal of Valor recipient for his actions on patrol and SWAT. He also earned a Medal of Merit for his life-saving efforts during a major flood. He holds a master’s degree in organizational leadership.

Recommended for you

Join the discussion

Police Training

Sponsored by

Career news from P1 in your inbox

Thanks! You've been successfully signed up for the PoliceOne Career Newsletter

Copyright © 2019 policeone.com. All rights reserved.