When it comes to law enforcement training, survival training is key. Here are six essential secrets for stronger survival training you and your trainees need to know to be more alert and effective on the job.
1. Get in the Water
Having trainees perform firearms drills in a swimming pool can help them build faster, more accurate full body shooting mechanics. In water that is chest high, officers will be able to build their speed and develop muscle strength, helping officers perform the action much more quickly when they are back on land. It also helps improve form and allows for self-correction.
Officers who punch out from the center of their body will have a blade piercing water while incorrect draws will feel more like a paddle arc. Officers will get faster with more reps and trainees will realize how important it is to have their basics down.
2. Train with Multiple Members
Most officers are taught to handcuff a suspect one on one. But in real life scenarios, there are often multiple officers involved and present. Exercises with multiple officers can help them work in tandem instead of creating chaos. Realistic scenarios involving training multiple officers should mirror reality and help them learn to communicate, complement each other’s actions, and cooperate to get the job done.
3. Manipulate the Simulator Scenes
Simulator scenes give more creative training than just scenarios and critique. Blacking out the screen for five seconds but keeping the scenario playing adds realism and can help officers learn to adapt to changes as they present. Fast-forwarding action or slowing it down can help trainees prepare for visual distortions that are common in shootings or high-stress situations. Stop and start to debrief– don’t wait until the end of the scenario. Ask questions and debrief at various points to understand reactions and their reasoning.
4. Go Pitch Black
More than just a Vin Diesel movie, a room that is pitch black is great for many training exercises. You can even create your own simulator by using a strobe with present timing intervals or toggling a light switch. Position your trainee so they are facing a suspect and flip the lights on and off.
Every time the lights go off, the suspect moves so that the trainee must react and act according to new information and scenarios, maybe holding a baseball bat or a gun or holding his hands up to surrender. This gets officers used to working in the dark, away from what they’re used to, and helps them sharpen their senses, as well as giving them a good idea of how quickly people can move when you’re not focused on them and how quickly scenarios shift.
5. Discourage the Routine Thinking
One of the most dangerous things an officer can do is actually fall into complacency. A mental routine or rut where an officer feels false security as a result of repetition. In fact, every situation is different. It’s important to note that each scenario has different environmental elements and that you never truly know what is going to happen. You don’t know the person and you’re in an unknown environment. Each situation is different, and things are always changing. Routine thinking can quickly become dangerous.
6. Remember the Goal of Training
Your goal should be to instruct your students well and help them develop excellence at their jobs. The goal is to make your students as well-prepared as you are (if not better). Teach your students the way you would want to be taught and make sure that you’re sharing what you know. How well they perform will be a testament to your efforts.