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Posted: 1/6/2002 8:31:12 AM EDT
Okay gentlemen, you know I'm not LEO, and I don't "intentionally" crash someones party, but bear with me on this one. I've been giving alot of thought to LEO/Civilian relations, and thought of something that might give the general populace some insight into your world. A couple of years ago I was asked to help referree my states Sporting Clays Championship. The event was held at a club located next door to the local law enforcement training facility. We have a good relationship with those guys, and they were invited to participate in the event. Local LEO handled the concessions, as well as pulling some FA out of the armory and letting the public fire the weapons for a nominal fee. Their other venue, and the point of this thread, offered the general public exposure to their F.A.T.S. video training simulator. I was able to participate in this, and needless to say it was an eye-opening experience. It provided a greater understanding of what you guys are up against. There can be nothing as humbling as triple-tapping a women trying to hand you her ID, or being KIA by a similar situation in the next event. As LEO, you are truly "living on the edge". I would not want to live my life that way, but as I have said in the past, have great respect for those who do. That brings me to my question: Does your local department use this type of training, and if so, have you ever offered it for exposure to civilians? I just thought of it as a great public relations tool and would be interested in your comments.
Link Posted: 1/6/2002 8:51:23 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 1/6/2002 8:58:14 AM EDT by Johninaustin]
We tried getting the public into that sort of thing years ago. No one showed up except a few reporters. (Who shot at everything and left quaking in their shoes) Add to that the fact that FATS time is booked solid for months (when it's not broken. I haven't shot it in three years) and you probably won't see it offered again. I believe the local sheriff's dept offers a quick try thru it's citizen's police academy. Our main thrust is with police ride along programs, (a real eye opener for folks) and neighborhood centers. Both of which seem to deliver positive results. The problem with one-off events like FATS training is that public interaction is tied to only a tiny percent of the overall population, 10-12 shooters at most, is limited to a specific location/time, and involves something the general soccer mom public wants nothing to do with, namely guns.
Link Posted: 1/6/2002 11:01:38 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 1/6/2002 11:02:19 AM EDT by Sukebe]
We have a (and don't be offended by the term civilian) civilian police academy class three times a year. It's one night a week for 6 weeks and gives the average citizen a broad overview of real world police training and work. My dept does not have the F.A.T.S. system and I'm not convinced that shoot don't shoot video games are such a great training aid (I admit that I have never trained on F.A.T.S.). Nothing can reproduce the real thing and I wouldn't want my guys thinking too much when the moment of truth arrives. I am however in favor of training with simunitions. We can recreate real events. There is nothing like having someone shooting back at you. We do a pretty good job of teaching cops to be alert for diversions and distractions that people use when trying to get the drop on you. If you approach every situation as having the potential for an armed confrontation until your certain that there is no threat then you'll probably be alright. I'm not saying that technology can't be helpful in training, I'm just saying that I'm not sold on this particular idea. The fact is budget restrictions mean that cops in this country are shamefully under trained. Very few get real worthwhile training on a regular basis after graduating from the academy. All cops become complacent at some time without refreshing and reminding them of the threats out there. Many cops find themselves reassigned to patrol duty after years of less hazardous assignments without any type of training to knock the rust off their skills.
Link Posted: 1/6/2002 1:20:32 PM EDT
My department has a 'citizens' police academy' where we put civilians through a short course of training, exposing them to the kinds of training we receive and what officers really encounter on the job. City council members, media folks, and just general citizens can all go through it. I taught the firearms portion for a while, and part of it was a briefing on laws/policies on use of deadly force, followed by FATS scenarios. I would shoot a few for demonstration, then the class members would get their turn. The whole class got to watch as their classmates went through, which added to the stress and the learning experience. In one scenario, the 'officer' is responding to a report of a mentally disturbed black woman in an office park. They arrive to find the woman kneeling on the ground outside a building, purse on the ground in front of her. They ask her for ID, she pulls a gun out of her purse. She fires two rounds at the officer and then runs away, gun in hand. Some of them shot her, some didn't. One student shot her as she was running away. The discussion was, is that a justified shooting? Under our state's fleeing felon rule, it was, and the class agreed. I then told them that the headline in the paper the next day would probably read "Mentally disturbed black woman shot in back by police". You could see the lights go on as they realized how a completely righteous shooting could be distorted by the media. The whole class left with a much better understanding of what officers face, and how the facts can be distorted later by people with an agenda. The FATS part of the class was later discontinued, after some soccer moms complained that it was 'too stressful'. Too bad, as the folks in my classes said it was the best part of the whole academy.
Link Posted: 1/7/2002 4:50:46 PM EDT
I think one of the very best ways to expose the public to our living on the edge is by a citizens police academy and or ride outs. I took my minister one night. It was a very eye opening experience. Still not sure if he understands the need or requirement for priority back up speeds, such as running code 2 to a assist other agency. But he does seem to appreciate the job more now. If you have the chance and your department has a ride out policy, take someone and let them learn. No better form of education than first hand. stay safe, guys!
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