Instructor credibility goes a long way in our profession. Any LEO who has sat through a training where someone with no police background tells you how to best do your job understands this. Worse yet, maybe you’ve attended a defensive tactics course where an overweight, tacti-cool instructor with no outside training, shows you some magical pressure point techniques or a few Hollywood take downs that have a 5 percent chance of working in a real fight.
Unfortunately, becoming an instructor in our profession can oftentimes be too easy. In my experience, the standard model is to send the officer to a 40 hour train-the-trainer course, where they receive a paper certificate at the end of the week. They are then blessed by the training gods to teach that material to others.
This model may be fine for some instructor certifications (*cough* *cough* de-escalation), but if you’re tasked with teaching your partners to control people and defend themselves against violent attacks, attending a one-time course is not enough. It’s a great start and obviously necessary, but training shouldn’t end the moment we frame our certificate and display it above our fireplace mantel. In my opinion, control and defense instructors have the biggest responsibility of all L.E. trainers because use-of-force incidents involve the highest level of risk. To minimize these risks and provide the highest level of training possible, we can’t just talk about it. We gotta' be about it. That means training outside of the PD, on our own time.
Earning credibility with our partners is not the only thing we gain by training on our own time. This additional effort has many other crucial benefits. It helps us:
- Sharpen our teaching skills and become better instructors.
- Gain more knowledge, making us a valuable resource for our partners when they have follow up questions on techniques and how they may apply in different situations.
- Learn the concepts behind the techniques we’re teaching, allowing us to adapt and modify them when necessary, opposed to just going through the motions.
- Network with other cops who train and share ideas.
- Learn and apply new ideas and concepts to help continually grow and advance our department’s overall use-of-force training program.
The last point may be one of the most valuable. Too many agencies are stuck teaching the same techniques and tactics, year after year, regardless of whether or not they work, or whether their cops are actually using them on the street. Techniques should be constantly reevaluated, modified when needed and scrapped if they’re not being used. After all, what good does it do to waste valuable training time teaching the same technique that hasn’t been used in 10 years?
We certainly don’t need to be national collegiate wrestling champions, or high level Jiu Jitsu black belts to teach our partners how to fight and defend themselves. But we also can’t be the guy or gal who attended one course three years ago, who occasionally goes through the motions and throws out cliche terms like “body mechanics” and “secondary weapon system.”
Go be about it. Go train. Oss!