Train with us now for the day shall come!
Are We Teaching Cops To Run?
More than a decade ago I started studying
officer-involved gunfights. Having accepted the huge responsibility of
training officers to use their weapons in deadly encounters, I believed
it was critical to learn from others.
Firearms training is a serious business. Unfortunately that's not a
sentiment always shared by all police firearms instructors. All too
often they make the training about them and their favored tactics and
not the needs of their students in actual gunfights.
Leaving all the political correctness and legal soft shoe aside,
gunfighting is just that: fighting with a gun. But some police firearms
trainers don't acknowledge the "fight" as part of the equation.
Once the guns come out and the bullets start to fly, gunfighting is no longer an...read more
Why Al Qaeda is Unlikely to Execute Another 9/11
It is Sept. 1, and that means we are once again
approaching the anniversary of al Qaeda’s Sept. 11, 2001, attacks
against the United States. In the 10 years that have passed since the
attacks, a lot has happened and much has changed in the world, but many
people can still vividly recall the sense of fear, uncertainty and
helplessness they felt on that September morning. Millions of people
watched United Airlines flight 175 smash into the south tower of the
World Trade Center on live television. A short while later they heard
that another plane had struck the Pentagon. Then they watched in horror
as the World Trade Center’s twin towers buckled and collapsed to the
It was, by any measure, a stunning, cataclysmic scene, a kind of
terrorist theater that transformed millions of television viewers into
vicarious victims. Excerpts of the just-released memoir of then-Vice
President Dick Cheney demonstrate that it was not just ordinary people
who were affected by the attacks; America’s leaders where shocked and
shaken, too. And judging from the statements of foreign citizens and
leaders in the wake of 9/11, those who proclaimed, “We are all
Americans,” it was also apparent that the toll on vicarious victims did
not stop at the U.S. border.
One result of this vicarious victimization and the fear and
helplessness it produced was that many people became fixated on the next
attack and began anxiously “waiting for...read more
9/11: WMD Preparedness Now
On the night of June 27, 1994, a refrigerator truck
cruised silently through the narrow streets of the historic castle town
of Matsumoto, Japan. No one took notice of it. No one had any idea of
the sinister plans of its occupants nor the presence of the deadly cargo
that it contained.
Shortly before 11:30 p.m., the driver parked the truck at the edge of
a pond in one of Matsumoto's more affluent neighborhoods. Then he and
other members of a powerful cult called Aum Shinrikyo ("Religion of
Truth") unleashed death in the form of sarin nerve gas into the warm
Their target was a group of judges presiding over a lawsuit against
the cult. But in the next 12 hours their attack would kill seven people
and injure 500.
Faced with an unprecedented crime, the Japanese police focused their
investigation on a single Matsumoto resident who had stockpiled
pesticides for his garden and whose wife was one of the victims. Nine
months later that gentleman would be cleared of any wrongdoing, in the
worst possible way. On March 20, 1995, Aum members perpetrated another
sarin gas attack in the Tokyo subway system, killing 13 and injuring
more than 6,000.
Most sources will tell you that...read more
The Evolution of Terrorism Since 9/11
Approximately 10 years after the 9/11 attacks, the
United States faces a more diverse, yet no less formidable, terrorist
threat than that of 2001. In this increasingly complex and dynamic
threat environment, not only does Pakistan-based al Qaeda possess the
ability to project itself across the globe to stage attacks against the
West but so do groups based in Yemen, Somalia, and Iraq. In many ways,
al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) poses as serious a threat to
the nation as core al Qaeda, with two attempted attacks against the U.S.
homeland in the past 2 years.
In this ever-changing threat environment, America constantly must
evolve to keep pace with this adaptive enemy. The United States has had
significant successes in combating the terrorism threat, most visibly
with the May 2, 2011, death of al Qaeda leader Usama Bin Ladin. Further,
the lives saved by U.S. counterterrorism efforts—the arrest of a
homegrown violent extremist (HVE) who attempted to attack a Christmas
tree-lighting ceremony in Portland or the disruption of three al
Qaeda-trained operatives in the United States before they could attack
the New York City transit system—stand as equally meaningful victories.
Discussing the current threat environment requires an understanding of how...read more
Sovereign Citizens A Growing Domestic Threat to Law Enforcement
They could be dismissed as a nuisance, a loose network
of individuals living in the United States who call themselves
“sovereign citizens” and believe that federal, state, and local
governments operate illegally. Some of their actions, although quirky,
are not crimes. The offenses they do commit seem minor: They do not pay
their taxes and regularly create false license plates, driver’s
licenses, and even currency.
However, a closer look at sovereign citizens’ more severe crimes,
from financial scams to impersonating or threatening law enforcement
officials, gives reason for concern. If someone challenges (e.g., a
standard traffic stop for false license plates) their ideology, the
behavior of these sovereign-citizen extremists quickly can escalate to
violence. Since 2000, lone-offender sovereign-citizen extremists have
killed six law enforcement officers. In 2010, two Arkansas police
officers stopped sovereign-citizen extremists Jerry Kane and his
16-year-old son Joseph during a routine traffic stop on Interstate 40.
Joseph Kane jumped out of the vehicle and opened fire with an AK-47
assault rifle, killing both officers.
The sovereign-citizen threat likely will grow as the nationwide
movement is fueled by the Internet, the economic downturn, and seminars
held across the country that spread their ideology and show people how
they can tap into funds and eliminate debt through...read more
When Less Is More
There’s not a single U.S. law enforcement agency that
doesn’t provide its officers with at least one less-lethal force option.
Most agencies issue or allow a variety of less-lethal tools. However,
equipment is only half of the equation. Training is the other essential
part. This article will address equipment and training issues related to
the use of common less-lethal law enforcement tools. I’ll also explore
the importance of conducting safe and meaningful training.
Less-Lethal Training Contemporary law enforcement agencies
realize the need to maintain a training program that includes the entire
use-of-force spectrum, from command presence to deadly force. Most, if
not all states, require certain basic and ongoing training for law
enforcement. This training is prescribed through mandates made by state
commissions, such as Peace Officers Standards and Training (POST).
Initial training for most officers with duty-specific equipment occurs in...read more
Speed, power, and repetition: Successful physical skills training
Last month, I wrote an article on the importance of
mental preparation and visualization techniques to prepare for sudden
life and death attacks. While I believe mental training is of utmost
importance, officers must also have the proper physical skills to follow
through. Here I’ll discuss tried and true tactics for honing those
At first glance, it seems every agency has its own set of physical
techniques for every type of situation. The funny thing, however, is
that the more time I spend in this business, the more I find that
everyone teaches the same...read more