There’s been a lot of controversy in the news these days about cops acting like cowboys and hunting down civilians. It’s unbelievable what news people will say to get ratings. I’m sorry, but such claims don’t pass the “What The F*#*?” test of anyone who has trained with law enforcement personnel.
My wife’s friend is married to a now retired County Sheriff, and he connected me with a guy named Don Gulla. Don was on the SWAT team and taught law enforcement trainees in the state’s police academy. Don was kind enough to let a dope like me partake in some of the training classes he offers on defensive fighting, ground fighting, and, eye opening weapon retention training.
Half the students in the class were trainees, the other half, experience law enforcement, then… me. The sole focus of the three day class was on how law enforcement personnel needed to learn how to hold onto their weapons.
Because street thugs will try to take them from you and kill you.
The three days were grueling and I wound up with a cracked rib and a lot of bruises. But what I learned from Don Gulla was not only invaluable for my skills, but illuminating.
In addition to working on the mats, we spent time in a classroom watching videos caught by security cameras of exactly these things happening (no killing, just thugs jumping armed cops). The experienced officers in the class shared stories of when they’d been attacked, sucker punched, knocked down, or out, or when thugs attempted to take their guns right out of their holsters in the middle of Seafair (a big event for the hydro-plane competitions every year in Seattle). None of the videos or stories told happened in a dark alley, often in broad daylight.
Mind you, thugs don’t go through rigorous training on “shoot, no-shoot” situations, violence de-escalation, or how to speak professionally to control hostile situations. They just seize opportunities to do violence. And they do… with great frequency.
CNN.com cites, “The number of law enforcement officers shot to death in the line of duty is up by more than 50% this year, and the leading method of those shootings was ambush-style attack.”
Cops have to play by the rules and train within those rules. If they don’t, it can ruin their careers and lives in endless trial by jury and in the media circus.
Bad guys? They have no rules.
When a cop speaks to me, I listen.