This is Matt Landfair’s second article on SSD. Matt is a Veteran Police officer, firearms/tactics instructor and founder of primaryandsecondary.com. We are hoping that articles like this can spur dialogue.
I have always been a firearms enthusiast. I was surprised I wasn’t surrounded by like-minded people when I went through the police academy. It wasn’t until I took further training beyond what is provided in law enforcement did I start seeing a bigger picture beyond just firearms. I learned how firearms, equipment, tactics, and training all work in concert. I also found this bigger picture was not an important aspect with many of my coworkers. This bigger picture is an important part of law enforcement; aspects within it can affect life or death outcomes.
Because of the weight firearms and firearms training holds; I found myself always looking to improve. My attitude is it is best to have and not need than to need and not have. Yes, the likelihood of needing firearms skills is lesser compared to other law enforcement skills. However, lacking firearms skills when you need them could potentially cause a life devastating incident. An issue I run into consistently is conveying the importance of training to those uninterested parties. The couple extra reps or magazines shot can make a difference, and in the long run they provide tangible results – unfortunately the naysayers want results now. During my quest to spread the gospel of good training and gear I have run into several different types of personalities who block progress within a department. These types of officers are obstacles to improving overall department capabilities:
-Too experienced – They used a sub-optimal or bad option which magically worked (against all odds). Now they push bad ideas.
-Already knows what is best – no experience, no scientific backing- they somehow already know what works. Worse, all of their answers are from the internet from questionable sources. .22’s kill more people; we should use .22’s as our duty guns.
-Playing the odds – They shoot down ideas because the likelihood of further training, superior weapons, or equipment (armor) most likely won’t ever be needed.
-Not important – similar to playing the odds, but this one wants department pencils (include your favorite excuse here) made instead of buying patrol rifles or funding training.
We already know police standards in training, equipment, qualifications are a minimum requirement. For me, this is not the standard to occupy. When is minimum a standard to strive for? If your department will not act to improve, to what extent are you willing to go to provide a better and safer environment for yourself at work? I may be better trained or equipped because it is on my dime, but what about my coworkers? A chain is only as strong as its weakest link. Do you want those weak links with you in a gunfight?
So how do you get that further training and equipment to strengthen that department chain? Rank is not always needed to instigate a positive change. There are budgetary constraints to everything within a police department. Realistic explanations need to be provided as to why your concepts are a necessity and weigh that lifesaving option to the non-essential items and training that are being purchased. With this in mind, what is the life of an officer at your department worth? I worked for agencies that did not provide these things and having that specialized personally owned equipment and additional training put me in a class well above that standard.
That minimum standard not only affects weapons, gear, and training – this affects personnel. I don’t think the public is aware we are blessed by officers who do not see police work as a job but as a calling and a passion. I do not think any of my friends or coworkers do this because of the pay. When the public cries out because of a few bad cops – be aware, if those standards were higher and higher pay was offered to attract better candidates – bad apples would be more easily weeded out.
Don’t let department training and standards be your standards, go beyond that minimum – strive to lead.
This article was originally published on www.primaryandsecondary.com and reprinted with permission from Matt who retains the Copyright to his work.