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Shift Training: Homicide Attacks Against the Police--Ambush

With the increasing number of ambush attacks against law enforcement officers, it is important that we remember that this is not something new (in the 1970’s the Black Liberation Army ambushed and killed 7 LEO’s, and over the years, other groups and individuals have done the same).  I am not dismissing or denigrating the tragic loss of life that the thin blue line has recently suffered.  To the contrary, I mourn, and I hurt with the rest of the Thin Blue Line saddened by the evil and cowardly acts of these few murderers.

To my fellow officers both young and old, I tell you this--do not let these homicide attacks detract from the important role that we serve, nor from the service that we provide to the community.  Our role is that of guardian and protector of the men, women, children, elderly, widow and orphan of our communities.  In their most desperate times, they call for us and we will respond.   We are not an occupying force at war with our community and the homicide attacks against us will not make us one.

Seek the guidance, knowledge and operational experiences, of your senior partners, because what you face today is not something new. In fact, the old dinosaurs on your shift have both lived it and lived through it.  Look for the officers that came on in the 70's, 80's and 90's and ask them about how things were then—what led to the LA riots, the gun and gang violence of those days, the ambush tactics against law enforcement in those times, and the methods and tactics used to successfully overcome those threats to law enforcement and the community in those days.  Then reflect upon the current threats, train, and be ready to serve and where necessary to respond and fight for the greater good of our communities.

Don’t forget to better yourself. There is a three book series by Caliber Press-Charles "Chuck" Remsberg (Street Survival: Tactics for Armed Encounters; The Tactical Edge: Surviving High Risk Patrol; and Tactics for Criminal Patrol: Vehicle Stops, Drug Discovery), there is shift training and there is also self-initiated training.  The books provide you with legal and survival knowledge learned at the high cost of lost officers lives.  Department and shift training helps you to hone the skills that you need to succeed.  Self-initiated training helps you to improve and to assure that the fundamentals are locked in.  If your agency does not provide you with enough training, stop making excuses and seek the training that you need on your own.  If you are a law enforcement agency that does not provide your officers with the training, equipment and tools that they need, then shame on you!

Will these recent homicide attacks  against law enforcement cause us to become hyper vigilant, to become occupying forces, to take on an us versus them attitude, to fear using force when necessary, or to slow or stop our protection of those that we serve and who need us the most-men, women, children, the elderly, the widows and orphans?  That answer is a resounding NO!

We will continue to be the guardian and protector of those most in need. That is our duty, and that is our calling......

Some common and often repeated Street Survival Tips:

  • Maintain situational awareness--on the way to duty, at duty and on the way home from duty
  • Don’t wear your uniform on the way to or on the way home from work
  • Wear your vest.
  • Keep your head on a swivel--stop lights, on approach, when pulling up to the station, when leaving the station, basically at all times.
  • When you break for lunch, talk to each other and set up your areas of responsibility (Partner I have the front door to us, partner I have the back door and bathrooms).  Don't assume you have a plan, talk about it and you will do it
  • Carry your survival tools--pistol, rifle, shotgun, Taser, baton, IFAK, Less than lethal launcher
  • There is no such thing as a routine traffic stop
  • Do not always make the same approach on a vehicle stop
  • Call out when on a traffic stop or subject check, give a cross street if possible, and give a visual description so that others can get to you (in the rear of the Walmart etc.)
  • Know your responsibilities when you are the Contact or Cover Officer
  • If you are a citation oriented officer, look beyond the citation. There are criminals driving around with illegal guns, knives, and drugs in their cars.  Just think about how many times you walked away from someone who you stopped and who you did not thoroughly check.  The criminal will learn that they are not being thoroughly checked and will in turn carry their weapons and illegal drugs and use them against the community.
  • If you hear you partner call-out--at the minimum do a drive-by to make sure that they are ok better yet, since most of us ride solo, stop and be the Cover Officer.
  • Conduct felony stops when necessary and don't rush the car.
  • Focus on the task at hand.  You stopped that car or that subject, now focus on them.
  • Put that damn cell phone away--Facebook, twitter et al., can wait
  • Supervisors, we need to stop texting officers with assignments, that is what the radio is for.  How can we expect them to get off of them if we tie them to it.
  • Look at people, let them know that you saw them--this is not mad-dogging, but a simple "how you doing", "I see you", “How Can I assist you”
  • Say good morning, how are you etc., to those in your district, in neighborhoods, in public areas (the lady or gentleman watering the lawn, the shop owner)—build community trust and support as well as opportunities to see what is going on in your area.


Stay alert, stay alive and be the one that brings the others back.........

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