Law Enforcement

Tip: Preparing for patrol in winter weather

Dave Smith
“JD Buck Savage”

In many parts of the country, cold weather begins around Thanksgiving — well in advance of the official start of winter. In this video, Street Survival Instructor Dave Smith discusses the importance of training to use your firearm and other equipment when you’re bundled up in a winter parka and gloves, and to be sure to regularly check that equipment for adverse effects that snow and ice can have on things like firearms.

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About the Author:

As a police officer, Dave Smith has held positions in patrol, training, narcotics, SWAT, and management. Dave continues to develop new and innovative programs across the spectrum of police training needs designed to assist your agency and your personnel in meeting the challenges of policing in the new millennium. As a trainer, speaker, and consultant Dave brings with him unparalleled access to modern law enforcement trends.

Dave is now the owner of “The Winning Mind LLC,”  the Director of Video Training for PoliceOne Video and author of the new book “In My Sights.” His experiences as officer, trainer, manager, and police spouse lend a unique perspective to his signature class, “The Winning Mind.”  Visit Dave’s website at www.jdbucksavage.com.

Contact Dave Smith and Follow Dave on Twitter

Credits

Article originally posted on PoliceOne, republished with permission from Dave Smith & Associates.

3 keys to improve your safety and success

Betsy Brantner Smith

I’m disappointed — but not surprised — to report that at least 25 percent of the women officers in my “Winning Mind for Women” class report that they are carrying handguns that don’t fit them.

In addition, female officers — and their male counterparts! — are still being injured and killed in vehicle incidents in which a seatbelt or a slower speed may have kept them safe.

And too many officers are filling their heads with negativity, which stifles their growth and endangers their lives.

Here are three keys to improve your career and enhance your officer safety.

Best of all, you can start doing each of these things right now!

1.) Make Sure Your Tools Fit You
Carrying a firearm that doesn’t fit you not only affects your scores on the range, but more importantly your confidence in your own ability to win a gunfight.

The fix is seems to be an easy one (carry a firearm that fits!), but most women and many of their smaller male colleagues are working in agencies which have a “one-size-fits-all” policy when it comes to firearms.

If the department won’t buy you a pistol that fits, ask permission to purchase your own. If that’s not an option, start documenting why you need a different handgun and provide several options for the agency to consider.

Document — in writing, with photos, and in person if possible — how an ill-fitting pistol affects your ability to shoot.

But remember to keep your demeanor positive and keep all emotion out of it. This is what Dave Smithcalls “The Power of Positive Annoyance.”

Don’t give up, be persistent, and carry a back up gun (which you should be doing anyway).

Also, make sure your shotgun and your patrol rifle (if you have them) fit as well. Youth stocks or collapsible stocks make long guns easier to handle for smaller people.

2.) Assess Your Driving
Driving and related activities are perishable skills which need to be practiced. Regularly assess your habits — good and bad — behind the wheel.

Do you tend to drive too fast? Do you spend too much time with your head down, looking at your computer screen, your ticket printer, or your smartphone?

Do you wear your seat belt each and every time you operate a vehicle, and do you practice taking it on and off?

So many officers still claim that “seat belts aren’t tactical.”  If you’re having difficulty getting out of your seat belt, you need to properly configure your gear, get a hard practice seat belt extender and practice.

There is never a reason for a cop to get hurt or killed because they refused to buckle up, on or off duty.

Slow down, wear your seat belt, and stay focused.

3.) Look in the Mirror
What do you see on the outside? Does your uniform or your suit (or whatever you wear on duty) fit you properly? Do you look like a professional? Are you as comfortable as possible? Do you have good boots or shoes?

Does your body armor fit well and provide good coverage?

After you assess the outside, take a look at the inside. What’s going on behind your eyes?

Does your “self talk” help you or hurt you?

You should be your own best coach and motivator —don’t fill your head with negativity. If you make a mistake (who doesn’t?) fix it, learn from, and move on, but don’t shirk your responsibilities.

You are responsible for your own officer safety as well as your own career satisfaction.

Embrace “personal responsibility” in everything you do.

Whatever your assignment is, law enforcement is an incredible challenge and a wonderful adventure, so make the most of it!

 

About the Author:

Sergeant Betsy Smith has more than 30 years of law enforcement experience, retiring as a patrol supervisor in a large Chicago suburb. A graduate of the Northwestern University Center for Public Safety’s School of Staff and Command and a Street Survival seminar instructor for more than 9 years, Betsy is now a speaker, author and a primary PoliceOne Academy consultant. Visit Betsy’s website at www.femaleforces.com.

Contact Betsy Smith and Follow Betsy on Twitter

Credits

Article originally posted on PoliceOne, republished with permission from Dave Smith & Associates.

The best police trainers never stop learning

Dave Smith
“JD Buck Savage”

One of the things I’ve noticed over my last few decades as a law enforcement trainer is that the good ones never stop learning. I’ve always tried to emulate that, but I must confess, sometimes it is pretty easy to just sit comfortably in my knowledge base and do training today the same way I did it yesterday.

I think that is why conferences and sites like PoliceOne are so important — they get us off our mental butts and getting us growing again.

I’d been getting behind in my reading (and growing) lately when my editor, Doug Wyllie, called to see if I was going to be on time with my article for today. I swore I would [Ed Note: Dave beat deadline by several days!] and wondered how he found out my middle name is Procrastination.

Practicing, Coaching, and Adapting

Going to my “to read” stack I had let get backed up, I grabbed a little tome I had been wanting to finish for a while and suddenly remembered why I had liked it so much.

Doug Lemov’s Practice Perfect is one of those books you can apply to your training programs, your leadership style, and your personal growth. So many times reading I would stop and think, “yep, that’s what I have been saying for years!” and a paragraph later saying to myself, “I wish I had said that!”

The premise of the book is simple, and whether you read it or not keep this mind.

Practice doesn’t make perfect, it only makes permanent. Ten thousand repetitions done improperly will leave you with a student who has some seriously bad habits. In our profession, such things can have dire consequences. Practicing correctly is the key and there are plenty of ideas in the book to help you design your training to be more effective.

But practicing isn’t the only aspect that matters in training — so, too, is how you coach the learner. Too many instructors have one method and one method only.

Being able to adapt to a learner is a sign of a great teacher. I remember a discussion several years ago with several top trainers, and we all agreed the greatest reward wasn’t how well our best cadet had done, but how our class had done (especially when we had one or two who seemed incapable of mastering almost any motor skill).

Proper practice using discrete skills, and enough repetitions, with effective feedback, can turn your apparently-hopeless trainee into a competent performer.

The problem is, we often don’t have enough time in the academy or in service training sessions to make a difference, so how we structure training and practice is very important. Getting the novice learner to a point where they can practice a skill on there is a huge step in developing skills.

Also, instilling a culture of learning and practice in our agencies is the other component that often gets ignored. Too often we just test, not train, in our in-service training. If we want learning and improving to become a basic part of our professional culture, we need to make it rewarding and not punishing, successful and not frustrating. How we design not only training but also supervision is critically important.

Continuing Education

Sergeants and supervisors have got to be considered a basic part of organizational training. They are law enforcement’s courtside coaches and should be trained to not only check paperwork but also all aspects of organization expectations including such things as officer safety, and tactics.

How many times have you watched a video of an officer getting injured or killed and wondered how did their skills get so corrupted?

I’ll tell you how — they’ve had routine erode their performance in repetition after repetition without any coaching from their sergeant. Feedback only works if it is given, and the closer to the performance it is given the more powerful the training effect!

Every activity is a repetition, and just as Lemov says in his book, “Practice all the wrong moves and your team will execute the wrong moves when it comes time to perform.”

He points out whether you are doing a skill or activity right or wrong, do enough repetitions and that skill will become a habit, and in law enforcement your habits are often the difference in life and death. Trainers and supervisors need to monitor performance and give feedback as quickly as possible to that performance.

Another key point is how that feedback or coaching is given is critical to long term success. Focusing on mistakes instead of successful performance simply leads to mistake-avoidance behavior.

The tendency to not try or grow doesn’t build a “success model” in the learner’s mind.

We are a high-risk profession and our folks need to have high levels of faith in their skills and abilities. Trainers and supervisors can play a key role. If you want to be a better trainer (and I believe all good trainers do), run over to the local library and check out Practice Perfect and be prepared to take notes.

Train hard, train safe, but always train correct technique!

 

About the Author:

As a police officer, Dave Smith has held positions in patrol, training, narcotics, SWAT, and management. Dave continues to develop new and innovative programs across the spectrum of police training needs designed to assist your agency and your personnel in meeting the challenges of policing in the new millennium. As a trainer, speaker, and consultant Dave brings with him unparalleled access to modern law enforcement trends.

Dave is now the owner of “The Winning Mind LLC,”  the Director of Video Training for PoliceOne Video and author of the new book “In My Sights.” His experiences as officer, trainer, manager, and police spouse lend a unique perspective to his signature class, “The Winning Mind.”  Visit Dave’s website at www.jdbucksavage.com.

Contact Dave Smith and Follow Dave on Twitter

Credits

Article originally posted on PoliceOne, republished with permission from Dave Smith & Associates.

Tip: Video: Applying when-then thinking to evasive driving

Dave Smith
“JD Buck Savage”

When do you need to be prepared to use evasive driving? Always, prepared, right? There’s no such thing as routine. PoliceOne Columnist Dave Smith discusses the need to have your broad external awareness focused on when/then thinking, knowing when you should take action to evade something in your path, and just as importantly, when to drive through the threat.

 

About the Author:

As a police officer, Dave Smith has held positions in patrol, training, narcotics, SWAT, and management. Dave continues to develop new and innovative programs across the spectrum of police training needs designed to assist your agency and your personnel in meeting the challenges of policing in the new millennium. As a trainer, speaker, and consultant Dave brings with him unparalleled access to modern law enforcement trends.

Dave is now the owner of “The Winning Mind LLC,”  the Director of Video Training for PoliceOne Video and author of the new book “In My Sights.” His experiences as officer, trainer, manager, and police spouse lend a unique perspective to his signature class, “The Winning Mind.”  Visit Dave’s website at www.jdbucksavage.com.

Contact Dave Smith and Follow Dave on Twitter

Credits

Article originally posted on PoliceOne, republished with permission from Dave Smith & Associates.

Ensuring your training avoids negative training scars

Dave Smith
“JD Buck Savage”

The word “artifact” has many meanings depending on its context or what profession is using it.   Museums are filled with artifacts. So are computer programs. What matters to us is that so do many of our motor programs. The dictionary describes these artifacts as method-depend results. In police lingo we call it, “Playing the way you practice!”

We all know you perform a motor program under stress exactly as you trained it and anything the learner does in the performance of that repetition during training will do it under duress.

Faulty Programmers, Faulty Programming
The problem is, when students do a skill a certain way to fulfill the criteria for measurement, the limitations of the facility — or the whim of the trainer — that student can get programmed with useless or detrimental artifacts.

Firearms’ training is filled with artifacts, from the design of ranges to courses of qualification.

Why are we standing, without cover, at seven, fifteen15, and twenty-five25 yards?

Why is a two-by-four bolted on a pole considered a barricade?

Why are some agencies still having officers shoot two and evaluate? Evaluate what?

If you do enough repetitions, this is will become an artifact that will pop up in the midst of a life-and-death struggle. We shoot until we stop the threat then we look for another…period!

Early firearms simulators simply reinforced the bad artifact of standing in the open. Worse they taught students to continue to stand, frozen in place in the open.

Today, simulators shoot back, cover is often used and video feedback is given to the officer to enhance learning and give feedback that help minimize artifacts. This is sort of the same as scrimmaging in sports to give a skill context and mitigate or eliminate any artifact the initial learning phase may have given the athlete.

In law enforcement the student is an athlete of another sort performing under extreme stress without the benefit of referees, coaches and timekeepers or even boundaries.   Our skills are performed in a purely “open” environment where sports are performed in various degrees of structure or “closed” activities.

Graphically, a continuum of activities or skills it would look something like this:

Closed Skills Open Skills
Darts Archery Basketball Soccer Hunting Policing

In darts, the instrument, the distance, and the board are all fixed. As we move down the continuum more and more ambiguity is introduced and the participant needs to have a greater and greater awareness of the outside world — there is little time for introspection or pacing, mostly recognition and reaction.

Whereas darts is one, self-paced skill, law enforcement has no line to stand at, no starting whistle, no clock to run out. There is pure ambiguity as to when a particular crisis will occur and what skill you will need when it does.

The Artifacts of Measurement
Unfortunately, traditional firearms training has been a lot closer to darts than police work. This was due to the need to acquire a training score (versus winning a life-and-death struggle on the street.

Because the artifact we are looking for in our training is a high level of performance designed to win on the street, our training should have a lot more scrimmaging than standing. The need to qualify often leaves the officer with several bad habits which are nothing more than the physical manifestations — the artifacts — of measurement.

Trainers can introduce artifacts by simply doing repetitions a certain way because of facilities or ease of observation, or by the way they measure the progress of the learning, or simply failing to have the learner do the skill in the context it will be performed.   Where does this skill occur, what are the cues that trigger it, what are cues that the performer needs to attend to, and does the officer believe in that skill?

In this day and age, we can use Airsoft, Simunition, and red man gear, to train in context…to scrimmage, and that is an essential element in the training process.   Not only does the brain learn the final parts of the “schema” of a motor program but the trainer can spot any artifacts that are being done and correct them.

Getting smacked with Simunition is a pretty good reinforcement for effectively using cover!

The goal of our training isn’t to just get a certificate or to qualify — it is to WIN on the street and WIN in life.

The trainer is in a unique position to not only provide skills to our officers, but to help them to develop and maintain a winning attitude and faith in their performance that will give our law enforcement folks the edge they need.

The main artifact of training should be a Winning Mind!

 

About the Author:

As a police officer, Dave Smith has held positions in patrol, training, narcotics, SWAT, and management. Dave continues to develop new and innovative programs across the spectrum of police training needs designed to assist your agency and your personnel in meeting the challenges of policing in the new millennium. As a trainer, speaker, and consultant Dave brings with him unparalleled access to modern law enforcement trends.

Dave is now the owner of “The Winning Mind LLC,”  the Director of Video Training for PoliceOne Video and author of the new book “In My Sights.” His experiences as officer, trainer, manager, and police spouse lend a unique perspective to his signature class, “The Winning Mind.”  Visit Dave’s website at www.jdbucksavage.com.

Contact Dave Smith and Follow Dave on Twitter

Credits

Article originally posted on PoliceOne, republished with permission from Dave Smith & Associates.

Is your inner voice a coach or critic?

Dave Smith
“JD Buck Savage”

One of the most powerful indicators of your level of self esteem is what do you say when you talk to yourself? I know this sounds pretty simplistic but it is a very important monitor for those who work in high risk professions. Our critical split-second decision making is quite simply getting what you believe you deserve.

If you think you deserve to win you will — if you believe you are a loser, you are.

The most reliable indicator of what you think about yourself is what you say to yourself.

While many think this is touchy-feely stuff, it has become an integral part of the positive psychology movement that includes the science of peak performance… winning!

Wearing your badge and gun means it is essential for you to win — not just on the street but in every aspect of your life — and anything that gives us an edge, from new flashlights, to better firearms, to mental skills that enhance performance under stress are all items we should take advantage of without hesitation.

For the next few days, monitor what you say to yourself.

Do you say “I” or “you” when talking? Do you talk about limitations (“you can’t”) or abilities (“I do”)?

Is your inner voice a coach or critic? Do you find yourself saying a lot of “I shoulds” or “I would if’s” or “why didn’t you do’s?”

All this is important in starting to improve you life and performance. We have to understand exactly where we are before we can move forward — make that commitment to improve, to be happy and more resilient.

Next, make a list of three things you want to improve and ask yourself what you would have to do to be better? Say your list is lose weight, improve your firearms scores, and spend more time with your friends.

My first question to you would be how are you going to know when you have achieved any one of these? How much weight? How much better a shot? How much time and doing what with your friends?

Actually, your list tells me more about your self criticisms rather than what you really want! Too many people are carrying a lot of baggage in their heads that others have given them to carry around.

This comes from friends, mentors, parents, coaches, teachers, supervisors, managers and others who have influence over us and if we believe them we can find ourselves with limiting or destructive beliefs about ourselves.

Sometimes those who think they are helping us are actually hurting us. The first week of the academy we used to tell all the women cadets to buy a grip strength exerciser since the firearms coordinator felt that the reason that so many women failed or performed poorly at the range was because of grip strength.

In talking with one of my favorite professors of sports psychology about women and firearms, she admonished me that shooting should be a positive experience for the women because it’s a fine motor skill. Our academy at the time was turning it into a negative.

When she heard we asked the female recruits to buy an exerciser without ever testing their grip strength, she scolded me that I had just told every woman in the class I thought they were weak. The ones that trusted me the most would be the most injured. Imagine their self talk!

During the next recruit class we emphasized how fun firearms was and that everyone would do well, and suddenly we had the first perfect score ever shot by a woman and the females mean score was one point higher than the males.

The class itself shot the highest class score in our academy history.

If a cadet was shooting poorly, I am confident her self talk was, “I can do better, I can squeeze the trigger more smoothly,” and her performance followed her talk!

Practice Positive Self Talk
So here are some action steps after you have evaluated your self talk. First, actively practice positive self talk. Emphasize what you can do and improve what you think you need to improve by determining measurable goals. Nothing disables self esteem like unreachable goals or expectations.

Improve your shooting score ten points this month, lose ten pounds this month, get back into that sport or activity you did with your friends this season, and understand failing to do these may be indicative of bad techniques, lack of discipline, or outside circumstances, but scolding or denigrating yourself isn’t the answer, saying to yourself you’ve learned from that and now going forward I do this!

Next time we will explore structured self talk exercises and cards, but until then, keep it positive and believe you deserve to win!

 

About the Author:

As a police officer, Dave Smith has held positions in patrol, training, narcotics, SWAT, and management. Dave continues to develop new and innovative programs across the spectrum of police training needs designed to assist your agency and your personnel in meeting the challenges of policing in the new millennium. As a trainer, speaker, and consultant Dave brings with him unparalleled access to modern law enforcement trends.

Dave is now the owner of “The Winning Mind LLC,”  the Director of Video Training for PoliceOne Video and author of the new book “In My Sights.” His experiences as officer, trainer, manager, and police spouse lend a unique perspective to his signature class, “The Winning Mind.”  Visit Dave’s website at www.jdbucksavage.com.

Contact Dave Smith and Follow Dave on Twitter

Credits

Article originally posted on PoliceOne, republished with permission from Dave Smith & Associates.

Is your life really balanced?

Betsy Brantner Smith

When I first became a field training sergeant, we had a young male rookie on my shift whose wife was pregnant. She gave birth too early and then she and the baby had to be flown to separate hospitals for advanced treatment. It was a scary time, especially for the young family.

Within a day or two, this officer was back at work, much to the shock of me and my lieutenant. We sat him down in the office and asked him why he was back so quickly.

He told us, “My first priority is to the agency and to my fellow officers. My personal life comes second.”

“There’s Life Outside of the Job?!”
My boss and I proceeded to deliver one of our best, most passionate “this-job-is-not-your-life” speeches and we sent the newbie back home. At that time, I also had a little one at home and the situation got me thinking about my own life and my own priorities.

Although my “baby” is now grown, I still struggle to maintain balance in my life, and I’m guessing that many of you do as well. How do you balance the extraordinary demands of a law enforcement career with your life outside of “the job?”

Most of us spend so much time and energy getting hired, keeping ourselves fit and ready for the job, and then working our way up the chain of command, that if we’re not careful our professional life may overshadow everything else.

Police officers are notorious for allowing our job to become the central focus of our lives. That doesn’t make you a better cop, and it sure doesn’t make you a better person. Here are a few suggestions for a young cop (or a veteran cop who wants to make some changes) on how to gain and maintain a more balanced life.

Keep Your Family Involved and Informed
“My family just doesn’t understand what I’m dealing with!”

I hear this from so many people in law enforcement. But when I inquire further, I discover that most of them don’t really tell their family members — or friends — what their day to day life is really like.

When I was in the academy my mom was battling cancer, my dad was taking care of her, and most of my non-police friends were still in college so I only had my academy classmates to talk to.

Looking back, it was a very emotionally isolating experience. Talk to your family members and non-cop friends about your experiences. And don’t just tell them the funny or heroic stories — tell them the things that scared you or angered you or even things that confused or worried you.

It’s okay to tell your spouse or partner, “I’m really worried about that felony assault trial next week” or to admit to your best friend from grade school, “I responded to a really bad fatal crash today and I’m really bothered by what I saw.”

Sometime talking to non-cop friends can help you frame your concerns differently that just talking to your co-workers.

If you have kids, talk to them about what you did at work today. Tell them one or two age-appropriate stories, and then ask them about their day and what they did. Trading stories is a great way to communicate kids, and I always found that it worked better than the standard “how was your day” questions that usually result in one-word answers.

If you went to training, teach them what you learned that day.

Kids love to learn about all the parts of a handgun and the differences between “cover” and “concealment,” so get them involved. If you’re in the academy, ask friends and family to help you study for exams and shine up your gear. They’ll feel more connected, and you’ll feel more balanced — everybody wins!

Don’t Give Up Your Non-Police Activities
When I was a new cop, one of the things that helped save my sanity in the police academy and in field training was something I’d been doing all my life — working with horses. For the first year I was on the job I lived in a small apartment on a horse farm where I worked off some of the rent cleaning stalls and exercising the owner’s horses.

No matter how stressed out I was, engaging in a familiar and pleasurable activity that had nothing to do with my job was a true joy.

As a rookie, my husband coached wrestling for a small high school.

Police work, especially in the early stages, tends to consume most of our time and energy, and by the time things settle down and we feel able to engage in other some fun, we often find ourselves with a list of what Dr. Kevin Gilmartin calls “Usta’s.”

I “usta” go fishing, I “usta” play softball, I “usta” visit my parents once a week, I “usta” get together with my high school girlfriends.

Keep the constructive links to your “before” life connected. Be proactive about scheduling time for activities that don’t involve police work — it’s essential to your emotional health.

Gender Roles and Police Life Balance
I talk to thousands of female cops every year, and achieving that work/life balance seems to be especially difficult for women. Many of them are dealing with less-than-supportive friends and family who don’t understand their career choice and frankly, law enforcement is still a very male-dominated profession and not all police departments are as welcoming to women as they should be.

I know many women who spend all day (or night) at work and then go home and make dinner, help with homework, bake cookies for the PTA fundraiser and do the laundry. Other women may be caring for aging parents or coming home to a spouse or partner who is resentful of the long hours spent away from home and the inevitable changes in attitude or demeanor that every cop experiences.

It may be helpful to seek out a more experienced female co-worker who has a similar lifestyle and get some advice. There are also associations and online forums (like PoliceOne!) that offer articles and advice to women in law enforcement. Don’t just stew in frustration, reach out!

Whether you are male or female, a rookie or a veteran, make sure you own a copy of Kevin Gilmartin’s “Emotional Survival for Law Enforcement” and Ellen Kirchman’s book “I Love a Cop.”

Reach out to your brothers and sisters in law enforcement and to your family and friends outside of the profession. Achieving balance in your life isn’t easy, but it’s extremely rewarding.

You’ve got to “train” for your personal life as hard as you train for your on-duty survival.

Stay safe!

 

About the Author:

Sergeant Betsy Smith has more than 30 years of law enforcement experience, retiring as a patrol supervisor in a large Chicago suburb. A graduate of the Northwestern University Center for Public Safety’s School of Staff and Command and a Street Survival seminar instructor for more than 9 years, Betsy is now a speaker, author and a primary PoliceOne Academy consultant. Visit Betsy’s website at www.femaleforces.com.

Contact Betsy Smith and Follow Betsy on Twitter

Credits

Article originally posted on PoliceOne, republished with permission from Dave Smith & Associates.

The deadly dangers of ‘detraining’

Dave Smith
“JD Buck Savage”

Who’s training you?

One of the big issues I have argued about over the years is what is — and what isn’t — training. I have had many “experts” say video training isn’t training, or a class on mindset isn’t training.

We don’t do any repetitions, we don’t practice, so it isn’t training, they argue.

These folks are confusing the verb “training” with the noun “training.”

Training (the noun) is defined as the long-term modification of behavior. If I have you do hundreds of repetitions and hours of training (the verb) in the academy we can say you have learned this skill or that tactic, but is it training in the long run?

If the first “high level operator” you work with says to you “standing to the side of a door when knocking isn’t macho” or “wearing a seatbelt isn’t tactical,” and it changes the way you stand at a door or drive a vehicle, all of the repetitions are for naught, and the fool has been the more effective trainer with a single sentence!

Observational Learning
It is easy to diagnose what this officer did wrong or that deputy should have done to survive but often what they did reflects the effects of the many things that change our behaviors, train us, or in some ways detrain us.

Routine is perhaps the deadliest of these “detrainers” in our lives.

Familiarity truly does breed contempt for the various risks and threats we face; and every time we get away with turning our gun side to a subject, or do poor or no searches on our arrestees, it is a powerful repetition that , if not corrected by some feedback such as a good fight for your life, will become a habit, which means the bad behaviors will be done by you every time!

Supervisors should always be seeing themselves as a powerful feedback mechanism to correct an officer’s behavior back to the appropriate level of performance. When I review a video of an officer injured or killed and I see one bad habit after the other I wonder why no one cared enough to challenge that behavior, that deadly habit. Remember, if you don’t challenge a destructive behavior you are an enabler.

Once an officer is detrained by routine, others will observe their new bad habits and learn from that. Observational learning is a powerful and insidious enemy of good tactics. Humans watch and learn and our brains don’t discern good from bad very often, they just learn and change.

I often watch a television show and laugh as the hero kicks her assailants butt with great sweeping slow punches while simultaneously drawing her firearm and shooting two additional ones without even raising her weapon to eye level. I wonder how many people thought you could make a bullet curve after watching the movie “Wanted?”

How many times have you seen an officer handcuffing a suspect in a lackadaisical manner with a technique we might best describe as “half-assed” and wonder how they learned it. That perception is key because it is the technique that they have been ultimately “trained” to do, it is what they do, and all the academy training, the in-service practice, all of it is moot!

The Informal Leader
The next deadly trainer in law enforcement is the informal leader who either is detrained, macho, or foolish. The wall has many names of officers who fell because with a simple sentence or mocking phrase, the informal leader is able destroy weeks or months of training.
I remember as a young officer being mocked for wearing body armor back in 1975 by a large strapping veteran who said it would make us reckless and he could deal with a .357 without one. He implied anyone who wore one was a wimp!

I just replied every time I put on my vest I was reminded someone, somewhere wants to test my vest and I would be ready.

I know many of you expect me to tell you he was shot a year later or some such thing but it seems luck sometimes favors the stupid and the fellow had a long career marked by foolish tactics and actions that endangered other officer, but his words never improved and I often wondered how many youngsters were detrained by his influence.

The challenge is to ask yourself who has truly trained you? Do you still do the good tactics you trained to do or did some other influence change your behavior, your tactics, your habits, for the worse?  If you replay your last traffic stop in your mind, do you see yourself doing anything foolish?

Not Today
Finally, I want to challenge all you supervisors to think about the various influences on your people and your role in being the antidote for the negative training that occurs. Sergeants are the natural extension of verb “training” throughout on officer’s career.

Feedback modifies behavior and the closer to the repetition, the more effective the feedback. If one of your deputies keeps turning his back on violators, challenge that behavior, go to BLUtube and review a video of an officer getting in a confrontation because of that behavior.

Correct it , challenge it, don’t enable it.

Remember, the negative trainers — such as routine or foolish peers — are relentless in their training and it can only be countered by good training and coaching. A good supervisor sees their role as coaching for excellence and survival.

We keep safe by maintaining our good tactics and skills and it seems so often the world conspires to erode them so we have to decide to actively resist. Risk is everywhere, so remember, on every traffic stop, on every building search, on every arrest, think, “Not Today!”

 

About the Author:

As a police officer, Dave Smith has held positions in patrol, training, narcotics, SWAT, and management. Dave continues to develop new and innovative programs across the spectrum of police training needs designed to assist your agency and your personnel in meeting the challenges of policing in the new millennium. As a trainer, speaker, and consultant Dave brings with him unparalleled access to modern law enforcement trends.

Dave is now the owner of “The Winning Mind LLC,”  the Director of Video Training for PoliceOne Video and author of the new book “In My Sights.” His experiences as officer, trainer, manager, and police spouse lend a unique perspective to his signature class, “The Winning Mind.”  Visit Dave’s website at www.jdbucksavage.com.

Contact Dave Smith and Follow Dave on Twitter

Credits

Article originally posted on PoliceOne, republished with permission from Dave Smith & Associates.

Unleashing her inner warrior: Ariz. cop beats a would-be cop killer

Nancy Fatura grew up in tiny Park Falls, Wis., where she dreamed of becoming a lawyer. But as a cop’s kid, she also craved excitement, risk and adventure.  In 1993, Nancy joined the US Army Reserves as a Behavioral Science Specialist and the girl from the Midwest found herself deployed to a combat hospital in Germany during “Operation Joint Endeavour.”

After her deployment, she returned to Wisconsin and tried out various jobs, including a stint with the state’s Department of Motor Vehicles where she developed a fascination and an expertise in working with faked documents. Her birth state of Arizona was still in her blood, however, as was an ever-growing interest in police work.  She packed up her car and moved to Tucson.

Nancy was hired by the Tucson Police Department in 1999; she immediately loved the challenge of the academy.  TPD has nearly 1000 sworn officers and protects 500,000 citizens within 200 square miles; what a change for the small-town kid from Wisconsin!  Nancy credits her dad, a tall “cop’s cop” kind of guy and something of an intellectual, with influencing her during those rookie years.

“Mom gave me my spine but dad gave me direction,” she told me with pride. “I always felt I had a good mindset for law enforcement.”

Nancy thrived in the police environment, where work was, and still is, great fun for her.

Wake Up Call
As her career progressed, she worked in various assignments including patrol, narcotics, background investigations — and the requisite stint investigating prostitution in plainclothes — but she always returned to patrol.

She got married in 2004 to another Midwesterner and they had two kids.  Childbirth and the lifestyle of a busy working mom took its toll and despite her natural athleticism she put on weight.  In 2008, Nancy had an unnerving encounter with a suspect she’d put in prison years before.  She considered this her “wake-up call” and started working out again, but she felt like she wasn’t maximizing her efforts.  She lost weight (over 80 pounds in a two year period) and felt better, but Nancy knew there was more that could do.

So did Officer Mike Rapiejko, a Tucson fellow cop and fitness and nutrition fanatic; he approached her one day at the TPD gym and said “what the hell are you doing!?”  Fortunately for him, Nancy took this in the spirit in which it was intended, and a partnership was formed.

Mike coached her in weight training, cardio, cross training, and he also helped reignite her interest in training not only her body but her mind.  She attended her first Street Survival seminar as well as Dave Grossman’s “The Bulletproof Mind.”  These classes left her with a realization that she needed continue to train her own will to win. In fact, she loved Grossman’s sheepdog analogy so much that she invested in a small tattoo: “Beware of the Sheepdog.”

Now that I’ve gotten to know Nancy, I sometimes think the word “sheepdog” should be replaced with “pitbull.”

A beautiful blond with sparkling, happy eyes, Nancy Futura is not someone you’d look at and immediately say to yourself “she’s a cop.”  Her Midwestern upbringing gives her a relaxed, friendly demeanor, but even as she smiles and jokes, it’s apparently that those eyes miss nothing.  Like the sheepdog, she is always watching.  But like the pitbull, she is tenacious and almost impossible to divert off a chosen task.

In February of 2011, Nancy was on patrol when she drove by a small group of men on foot.  Something was “off” about the scene, and she turned around and headed back.  All but one of the men ran in the opposite direction and she took off after them.

After three men were in custody, the full story came out:  Nancy had witnessed a homicide.  The victim, already dying of a stab wound when she entered the area, might never have been avenged if she had not followed her instincts and run after the offenders.  “Beware of the Sheepdog” indeed.

In June 2011 Nancy decided to broaden her perspective with the agency and transfer to a new division, the Downtown Division.  She was a “Lead Police Officer” (LPO), a field training officer and a hostage negotiator with her eye on a sergeant’s position.  Change would be good.

Pitbull’s Memorable Last Shift
Nancy began her last shift with her current team later that month.  During the previous night, she had gotten involved in a suicidal barricaded subject that she had negotiated to a successful conclusion, so her intent was to spend most of her shift finishing the mound of paperwork that goes with such an incident.

As she patrolled her area she got a call of a “male shot in the head” at the Overboard Restaurant.  She was only 60 seconds away, so she raced to the address while starting to set up a perimeter as other units responded.

Dispatch came over the radio: “Male shot in the head, he’s pouring bleach over the scene.”

Witnesses called in more details as she arrived.  The suspect, Anthony Salcido, 30, was still on scene, inside the restaurant.

“I didn’t know if we had an active shooter or a hostage situation, and now I have a guy with a gun and a hostage in the restaurant,” Nancy said.

She began to direct citizens to safety as the suspect ran.  Then she lost sight of him for a second and he was able to dump the gun. The scene was chaotic and there were people everywhere.

As the suspect came into view, Nancy pointed her gun at him, shouted commands, saw that he has nothing in his hands, and re-holstered her gun as her partner on the call, Officer Chris Duenas, attempted to arrest the suspect.

The two men began fighting intensely, and every time she attempted to enter the fray, the suspect pushed her away, as though she was a tiny rag doll.  She was hit three times in the head.

Nancy drew her TASER, pulled off the cartridge as she’d been trained to do, and drive stunned Salcido multiple times, starting on his side and moving up toward his head.  Salcido was able to push Nancy’s TASER toward Chris’ head while it was cycling.  Chris was TASERed multiple times.  Nancy grabbed the end of the TASER to redirect it and also suffered a drive stun.

At that point she let go of the TASER, drew her pistol and quickly fired five rounds.  The first round hit Salcido in left front torso, and it was a fatal wound.  But he continued to spin, and she hit him three more times. He hit the ground on his back.

Still in the fight, her gun malfunctioned, so she tapped, racked, and readied herself for more, but Chris was already handcuffing the suspect and told her to re-holster.  Salcido’s original victim, the man shot in the head, was up and about, walking and talking.  The next officer who arrived on the scene hugged her and began to check her for injuries.  Chris was treated and transported for respiratory issues.

“I never thought ‘he’s winning, he’s going to kill me,” she said. “I never really had a negative thought.”

She didn’t know that’s she’d been in such an intense altercation until she read the witness statements.

She describes Chris’s actions as “valiant;” he fought for her and for both of their lives. An investigating detective, who called the incident “Battle Royal,” told her she had also “fought like hell.”

Not An Ending
The shooting was quickly determined to be justifiable, and it was back to business as usual.  That should be the end of the story, shouldn’t it?  Small town girl does good.

But it’s actually somewhat of a beginning.  Nancy Fatura continued her quest for fitness.  She participated in her first “mud run,” an activity she enjoys not only because of the challenge, but because of the diversity of the participants.  A month later, however, she was thrown a true curve ball.  Pre-cancerous cells forced her to endure major, invasive surgery that also halted her workouts and made her gain weight.

Still recovering but back in the gym, Nancy is now a counselor at the Southern Arizona Law Enforcement Academy and should be promoted to sergeant early next year.  She is also branching out, debuting her new workshop, “Unleashing Your Inner Warrior” at the Big Sky Women in Law Enforcement conference next month.

She is truly a role model on so many levels, and I’m so proud to call her my friend as well as my inspiration.  I’m hoping to join her on one of those “mud runs” soon!

 

About the Author

Sergeant Betsy Smith has more than 30 years of law enforcement experience, retiring as a patrol supervisor in a large Chicago suburb. A graduate of the Northwestern University Center for Public Safety’s School of Staff and Command and a Street Survival seminar instructor for more than 9 years, Betsy is now a speaker, author and a primary PoliceOne Academy consultant. Visit Betsy’s website at www.femaleforces.com.

Contact Betsy Smith and Follow Betsy on Twitter

 

Article originally posted on PoliceOne, republished with permission from Dave Smith & Associates

Tip: Police trainer’s reading list: Recommended books for cops on fear, women veterans and more

Dave Smith
“JD Buck Savage”

What’s on police trainer Dave “JD Buck Savage” Smith‘s night stand? A bottle of water, a Glock 17, and these five books.

1.) Flourish by Dr. Martin Seligman
Flourish illustrates the concept of Positive Psychology using stories, including one about how the entire U.S. Army is now trained in emotional resilience.

2.) Good Boss, Bad Boss by Robert Sutton Ph.D.
Good Boss, Bad Boss reveals the mindset of some of the best and worst bosses. Applicable to anyone who works in a team, a central theme is built upon an examination of the way great leaders stay in tune with the reactions they get from their charges, superiors and peers.

3.) The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business by Charles Duhigg
The Power of Habit takes a close look at successful people and how they achieved that success by studying and applying the patterns that shape life.

4.) When Janey Comes Marching Home: Portraits of Women Combat Veterans by Laura Browder
A collection of 48 photographs of women veterans accompanies stories from all five branches of the military of American women making sacrifices in the line of duty.

5.) The Science of Fear by Daniel Gardner
Irrational fear can have tragic results. In a look at how people assess risk in a modern age of seemingly looming threats at every corner, Gardner says we shouldn’t fear – but do anyway.

 

About the Author:

As a police officer, Dave Smith has held positions in patrol, training, narcotics, SWAT, and management. Dave continues to develop new and innovative programs across the spectrum of police training needs designed to assist your agency and your personnel in meeting the challenges of policing in the new millennium. As a trainer, speaker, and consultant Dave brings with him unparalleled access to modern law enforcement trends.

Dave is now the owner of “The Winning Mind LLC,”  the Director of Video Training for PoliceOne Video and author of the new book “In My Sights.” His experiences as officer, trainer, manager, and police spouse lend a unique perspective to his signature class, “The Winning Mind.”  Visit Dave’s website at www.jdbucksavage.com.

Contact Dave Smith and Follow Dave on Twitter

Credits

Article originally posted on PoliceOne, republished with permission from Dave Smith & Associates.