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Brian Willis

Brian Willis is a retired officer, trainer and author who now serves as deputy executive director for the International Law Enforcement Educators and Trainers Association (ILEETA).

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Doug Wyllie

Doug Wyllie has authored more than 1,000 articles and tactical tips aimed at ensuring that police officers are safer and more successful on the streets. Doug is a Western Publishing Association “Maggie Award” winner for Best Regularly Featured Digital Edition Column. He is a member of International Law Enforcement Educators and Trainers Association (ILEETA), an Associate Member of the California Peace Officers’ Association (CPOA), and a member of the Public Safety Writers Association (PSWA).

William Harvey

William Harvey

William "Bill" Harvey is currently serving as chief of police in south central Pennsylvania. He retired from the Savannah (Ga.) Police Department where he worked assignments in training, patrol, and CID. Harvey has more than 25 years of experience working with recruits, rookies, and FTOs.

The Officer Survival Creed

The creed is a good reminder for officers working patrol shifts in today's violent society.

March 20, 2013  |  by

Photo courtesy of Long Beach (Calif.) PD.
Photo courtesy of Long Beach (Calif.) PD.

Capt. Mike Williams, the Chattanooga (Tenn.) Police Department's training division commander, has been sending out his Police Related Newsletter since the early 1990s.

It's a must-read source for links to police news items and also includes training tips shared by Williams' law enforcement readers. A few years back, Williams shared an inspirational training write-up called the "Officer Survival Creed."

One of Williams' readers saved the creed when it was initially sent out about eight years ago. This reader, Ray Chumbler, told Williams in a recent e-mail that he opens his e-mail every day. The creed, Chumbler wrote, is a good reminder for officers working patrol shifts in today's violent society.

With Capt. Williams' permission, we're re-printing the creed in its entirety because we whole-heartedly agree with Chumbler's assessment. So without further ado, here it is:

Officer Survival Creed

The will to survive, to survive the attack, must be uppermost in my mind. For the one who lives through a fight is better off than the one who does not. Therefore, preparation and not paranoia is the key to my survival. To survive I must be aware, be alert, be confident, be deceptive, be decisive, and be ready. I must expect the unexpected and do the unexpected.

When faced with violent assault, my life depends upon my reaction without hesitation. There is no time to ponder because to ponder is to possibly perish. My response, if attacked, must not be fear but aggressiveness. I must block out all thoughts of my own peril and think only of stopping the assailant.

My prize in personal defense is my life. The perfect fight is one that is over before the loser realizes what is happening. The perfect defense is a counterattack that succeeds before the enemy can attack again. Therefore, if I am assaulted, I will retaliate instantly. I will be sudden and quick. I will be fast, not fair. Speed is my salvation.

If my attacker knocks me down, I will fight back against the odds and get up off the ground. I will seize the initiative and take every advantage. My concern is to stay alive. I won't hold back.

If I find myself under lethal attack, I won't be kind. I will be harsh and tough. If I must shoot, I will shoot with precision and shoot to stop. If I must use my hands, I will use them with all the strength I possess and more. When I strike, I will strike hard; I will kick, punch, and do what must be done to survive. I will strike no more after my attacker is incapable of further action, but I will see that he is stopped.

Above all, I won't give up and I will make it. I will not die in the streets, or in an alley, or in any other part of the concrete jungle. I will survive; not just by good luck and good fortune, but by my skills.

If I adhere to these basic principles of survival and adhere to the attitude that is suggested in them, as a police officer, I will greatly enhance and perfect my skills in utilizing good and safe practices, tactics, and techniques.

We hope you draw inspiration from these words. And stay safe out there!

Comments (4)

Displaying 1 - 4 of 4

Lt. Sal @ 3/22/2013 6:05 AM

This article is probably the most important one and will be commented on less than others. It has no pizzaz o rmedia hype. I hammer this message as often as I can. I may not use these words, but this is the reality of what will happen if you stay in this job long enough. You will have that encounter. Years of complacecy will and can cost you your life. Stay safe my brothers and sisters.

Rick @ 3/22/2013 8:31 AM

There is a more simple way to state this; there is a great picture of a frog being eaten by a pelican, but the pelican is being choked by the frog and the caption is Never Give Up! Much more memorable as a creed than this well written, but long creed.

Trainer R.T. @ 3/22/2013 4:52 PM

I am a full time Corrections Department Academy Training Staff, and stress to the Correctional Officers the importance of this frame of mind and how violent the inmates can be and are. Lt. Sal, you are correct, no pizzazz, no media hype, no bells and whistles, just good information. If only one officer-police or corrections takes this to heart, and it saves one officer, then it is worth the print!!!

Brian @ 3/26/2013 9:04 PM

Did a LAPD cop write this in the 80's. I think a Harbor Patrol Officer from the LAPD wrote the survival creed. I recieved it back in 1989 when I first started as a cop by my FTO. ???

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