Bad training creates bad tactics and is the cause of most of the national backlashes. The good news is we can fix that.
The United States of America is facing a series of chaotic events. It is all a backlash around the country in the name of George Floyd.
George Floyd died while being detained by members of the Minnesota Police Department. The most infamous officer involved is Derek Chauvin. Officer Chauvin knelt on George Floyd’s Neck for just under 9 mins. An important detail in this situation is that Mr. Floyd was also handcuffed and face down on the ground.
Every moment was caught on camera. You can see every bit of life leaving Mr. Floyd’s body. There is speculation on all sides of Officer Chauvin’s intent during the interaction. That is entirely between him and his God. What I can tell you are the reactions coming from almost every reputable trainer known to me at the time.
What professionals had to say:
It was close to unanimous in that it was unjustified, excessive, and most of all, inappropriate to the threat presented at the time.
Protest crossed the lines of legitimacy in going from calls for reformation to destruction almost immediately simply because the public lost faith in the police institution. Which then sparked global protests and similar chaos. Wrath came to the most unsuspecting people in our society.
Imagine what it is like to be Officer Derek Chauvin in the midst of all this. I am not excusing his actions but, without that 8- or 9-minute event, we would most likely have never heard his name. It took less than 9 minutes to change every bit of who he was in society.
Derek Chauvin went from arguably an honorable public servant to a total social pariah. Regardless of his verdict, he will have to uproot and change his entire life.
What happened with Derek Chauvin and many officers before him caught in these nationwide meltdowns are written off as simply a problem of a “bad cop.” This is done without considering the institutional obstacles to training for police forces. Workman’s compensation, employment law, unions, etc.
Bad cop or just badly trained?
I’ve been involved in institutional training all of my adult life. Very little, if any of that training could be categorized as anything beyond familiarization. On average passing standards range between 60-70% depending on the skill. Bear in mind I started in a wartime active military setting.
The public asks of ordinary people who aren’t held to any physical fitness standards past the academy to own or master physical skills after spending an hour or two annually familiarizing themselves with it. This is an unreasonable expectation. It is scientifically, physiologically, and psychologically impossible for any human being to do so. By any metric worth measuring.
It is also illogical and naive for anyone subjected to those circumstances to believe they might be the exception to the rule. Testing is conducted in controlled environments with reasonable stress with minimal training and practice. The reality is on the ground those skills are tested with unreasonable duress in uncontrolled environments on-demand
Training and practice are processes of continuous action, not events. The only way to own physical skills is to habitually train them.
Super cops exist in America:
This is not to disparage the police force by no means. There are many super cops out there in America. Cops that despite working in an environment where “good enough” will do, use their own time and resources to train relentlessly.
These cops get almost zero recognition and support from their leadership because their arrests are generally uneventful. Their arrests get defused before they can escalate. Their lack of ego has them interacting with reciprocal respect and courtesy with the public regularly.
These are the type of cops who pass on social drinking events to attend weekend classes for professional development. Further burdening their own families. They put the expectations of the public ahead of being “one of the boys” and probably getting passed up for promotions for that same reason.
Racism and Law Enforcement:
I can speak with authority, certainty, and experience as someone who has worked with, worked for, and trained law enforcement members at various levels across the country that real “bad cops” are so few and far between that they usually end up quickly fired or in jail. Usually, before they can ever become a problem or noticed by the public.
Instructors are not activists; we have no political agenda. We provide physical education. I can only definitively speak for myself. My job and loyalty are to provide or produce proven and repeatable results or the wrong people die. My livelihood also does not depend on being an instructor. I have the freedom, to be honest in my approach.
The idea that police are on some nefarious mission to somehow ensure ideals of slavery or racism are maintained is asinine and woefully ignorant at best based on my experience. Bad cops are not a problem. Departments, agencies, and units do an excellent weeding these temperaments out.
Fixing the problem:
Badly trained cops are the problem. Even with that being the case, American law enforcement still does more good than you can imagine.
Truth be told you, have the power to fix that. Do not wait for a cultural change. The stakes are too high to do so.
Move beyond surface-level observations and political solutions to perform the deeds needed in your community.
A good start is learning about the institutions you are attempting to change for yourself. Ride alongs are free. Get tactical training yourself.
Go to the police stations and have a respectful conversation. Ask what is holding them back from getting better training and figure out how you can help.
Take a look at my previous article 2020 Combatives Training for a list of vetted experts in the field. It’s a shameless plug but I’m happy to help anyone with Combatives training and can be reached for hosting by clicking HERE.
Consider supporting the growth of combatives training by purchasing Combatives Association apparel and more HERE.
Deeds Of Arms:
Things are changing and you have to get training before wrath finds you.
Drill the movements as if the fight of your life were tomorrow.
Dry fire as if every trigger press rescues a loved one held hostage.
Shoulder this burden of responsibility well because regardless of the outcome, your life will be forever changed. On the day that chooses you: your actions, your life, or your death will be determined in seconds and inches. People are counting on you.
Do your Deeds of Arms.
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