Anyone who has ever sat in the editor’s chair of a magazine will tell you that a magazine is a living organism.
Some magazines have short lifespans. Others live a very long time. The first issue of Time was published in 1923. Sports Illustrated was born in 1954. And Police Product News—now POLICE—debuted 30 years ago in 1976.
A publication does not last 30 years or even five years without adapting to its environment. You may have noticed that recently POLICE has been going through quite a bit of change. We are adding some new features and departments and ending others.
The other thing that’s changing at POLICE is some of our branding. It’s not easy to change the name of a column or department of a magazine. It’s kind of like changing the name of a person because it can lead to loss of identity and confusion.
Despite these concerns, we felt that it was time to change the names of two of our longest-running columns.
For more than a decade now, the back page of POLICE has been called “The Beat,” and it was a reader-submitted story about something humorous or poignant that happened on the job. The problem with this column has always been that it varied greatly in quality. We’ve published some laugh-out-loud funny “Beat” stories and some that frankly were not so good.
We want the last page of Police to be consistently good. That’s why we’ve asked Dave Smith to write a new monthly column called “In My Sights” that will focus on the humor of the job but also talk about patrol tactics and techniques. Dave is the creator of the infamous Buck Savage, a very insightful man, and a veteran officer with a lot of experience to share. So we know you’ll enjoy his work.
The other thing that’s changing is the name of our defensive tactics, firearms combative, and patrol tactics feature. For decades, this feature has been headed by the slug “Officer Survival.”
But ever since I became editor in 2002, numerous readers have asked me to change it. The officers and trainers who have lobbied me to make this change are some of the most respected people in their fields. Many of them serve on the POLICE Advisory Board.
Still, this was not a decision that the Police staff could make lightly. “Officer Survival” has been part of POLICE Magazine since the Reagan years, and it is one of the most read articles in each issue of POLICE. I didn’t want to change the name because it was kind of an institution.
That changed this August when I sat in on Louie Marquez’ Close Quarter Combatives class at TREXPO East. Louie, a noted defensive tactics trainer and retired SWAT officer, explained to his students in no uncertain terms why he hated the term “Officer Survival.”
I’m paraphrasing here, but Louie’s speech went something like this: “We don’t use the term ‘survival’ in this class. You can lose the fight and still survive. You can end up a paraplegic and survive. You can end up in a coma and survive. This class isn’t about survival; it’s about winning. You’re here to learn how to win, not survive.”
I can’t say it any better. So from this issue forward, the monthly defensive tactics, handgun combative, and patrol tactics feature in POLICE will be called “The Winning Edge.” And its mission will be to provide you with information that will help you win dangerous confrontations.
Yes, like any other organism, a magazine has to change to grow. But the one thing I can guarantee you that will never change at POLICE is that we will always work hard to bring you the most entertaining, thought-provoking, and informative law enforcement magazine in America. That’s been our mission for 30 years and it’s our mission today. Thank you for reading POLICE.