The Reality of Training – Gaining Perspective

Agencies need to take a hard look at not only what is being taught, but how to refocus tactical training effort and time, to things other than the “ABC’s” of technique and tactics. Training should be about gaining a deeper understanding of the concepts of force and the tactics used and then integrating reality based drills and skill builders that let officers practice the “ugly stuff” that never goes as planned. This type of training builds immeasurable competence for real incidents. And, contrary to some misguided beliefs, enhancing training does not increase the likelihood of the use of force. It may increase the likelihood of shooting a truly dangerous subject, but it will also decrease the likelihood of shooting an innocent other. This cannot occur by performing choreographed, rehearsed techniques repetitively until they are perfect. That may look good for a dog and pony show for politicians or the media, but it will create a training scar that is only revealed, sadly, in a real fight or deadly force incident.

There is nothing wrong with practicing good technique and skills, but tactical training must incorporate the actualities of reality. One must prepare officers to react reasonably for when things do not go as planned, which should ultimately be the end goal. Focus training for what goes wrong, not what goes right. Bad policy, ineffective training directives, budget constraints driven by cultural ideals and misinterpretation of law must be taken out of police procedures and the police must be supported through the reality and integrity of their training because at the end of the day, increasing the officer’s survivability and competence, and the safety of the public, is all that truly matters.



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