18 January 2019

Police Training

Police Training in the 21st Century
by O'Neil De Noux

The cover story of the Fraternal Order of Police Journal's December 2018 Issue is entitled PUBLIC SITES UNDER ATTACK: TACTICS FOR SECURING LAW ENFORCEMENT AGENCIES, ENTERTAINMENT VENUES AND MORE.

Interesting piece. Good stuff for a writer to know as it details changing police tactics and techniques to mitigate threats to the law enforcement officers and the public. Since nothing is off limits to terrorists, the vulnerability of people in public places is addressed as well as protection of police stations.

Obviously police officers must remain on alert to any threat. One way is ongoing training. When I was a university police officer, we trained repeatedly on how to handle emergencies on campus, from fire to natural disaster (we were in hurricane alley) to active shooter on campus. Every semester break, we conducted a mock attack on different buildings to keep our home-field advantage. We studied every area of campus.

The FOP article lays out how to locate vulnerabilities of hard and soft targets. It lists: 1. Perimeter security. 2. Officer positioning. 3. Controlling access. 4. Detection systems (such as video surveillance) and 5. Emergency planning. The informative article is concise.

Training is paramount. As is quick reaction. The men and women I worked with were fearless. In the few events we had on campus (all turned out to be false alarms – a student accused of pulling a gun on another actually pulled out a cell phone), the rapid response of our officers was impressive.

One observation by the trainers - old school cops like me and others, while we moved a little slower, were quicker to react decisively. Comes from working big city streets, I suppose.



  1. O'Neil, we're definitely living in crazy times. The story you told of the guy with the "gun" that turned out to be a cell phone made think of something that happened in the LA area just yesterday. This is the headline on the NBC Los Angeles page: "Report of Woman Carrying Rifle Puts College Campus on Lockdown, Gun Turns Out to be a Tree Branch."

  2. And the crazy times are everywhere - strange things happen in small towns, too. We had a guy a few years back - I've talked about this before - who went door to door until he found one of his many targets (he had a list) at home, and then shot him to death. The one advantage is that it's very hard for a terrorist to infiltrate a small town - they stand out.

  3. O'Neil, you're right about the old school cops being quicker to react decisively or even to react at all to some anomalies. And yep, it does come from working the big city streets where a cop's mind had better be tuned to his surroundings all the time. It's training, experience and acquiring the ability to judge what the facts mean.

  4. Ah, for the good old days (late 1960s, early 1970s), when people used to call in bomb threats during final exam week...

    Do t hey still do that?

  5. I remember those days, Don. I don't know about now, but here in SD, a lot of grandmothers "died" during final exams...

  6. Good to know that in crazy times, Old School still get's it done.


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