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NYPD Reportedly Being Trained to Close Eyes During Tense Situations

February 23, 2015  | 

Officers should “take a deep breath’’—and close their eyes—when dealing with angry people, according to the NYPD’s new “retraining’’ program.

The potentially dangerous advice is part of a $35 million “smart policing’’ primer by Mayor Bill de Blasio and Police Commissioner Bill Bratton that most of the officers who have gone through it say is completely useless.

One officer who sat through two full-day programs called them “not realistic’’ and “pretty silly.”

At one point during the lectures, the officer told the New York Post, those in attendance were given breathing exercises to learn how to calm down—even when facing someone who could pose a threat to their safety.

“They said if you find yourself in a situation that’s getting heated, take a step back, close your eyes and take a deep breath,” he said.

“That’s pretty funny — that I would close my eyes in a tense situation.”

Comments (48)

Displaying 1 - 48 of 48

Swatguy @ 2/23/2015 3:50 PM

In my 30 years on the job this has got to be by far the most asinine, ridiculous and some
Other words that would
Most likely get me banned from this site. Who thinks this crap up some Ivy League dip S$&t who has no clue what we do. Yea I'm gonna close my eyes so I won't see my life flash before my eyes. Wake up Mayor and Commisioner please before more officers blood is spilled on your hands.

Carlson @ 2/23/2015 3:59 PM

This is a wonderful idea. What they actually said was "Close your eyes while placing your gun on the sidewalk in front of you."

regular guy @ 2/23/2015 4:00 PM

"breathing exercises to learn how to calm down—even when facing someone who could pose a threat to their safety."

"if you find yourself in a situation that’s getting heated, take a step back, close your eyes and take a deep breath."
Mayor Bill de Blasio and Police Commissioner Bill Bratton are training their Officers to die. I'm saddened by this poor training.

Don @ 2/23/2015 4:04 PM

The mayor must be crazy. He wants officers to close their eyes while confronting a tense or hostile situation. Obviously he is trying to downsize the NYPD through office deaths and injuries. Let him be on the other side of an ass kicking and while he is being beaten he can close his eyes. Maybe New York can get a new mayor.

R. Short @ 2/23/2015 4:07 PM

That is one of the most idiotic things I have ever heard! Most officers even sleep with one eye open and need one in the back of their heads. Blinking can get you killed, closing your eyes is inviting problems ! DeBlasio is a fool and no friend to law enforcement.

Ron @ 2/23/2015 4:07 PM

Take a breath, close my eyes and hand them my weapon -- so I don't hurt myself? Who paid for this nonsense?????????

Dan Miller @ 2/23/2015 4:07 PM

WTF - A "blind" PD ??? - What could possibly go wrong with that ???

Dan Miller @ 2/23/2015 4:12 PM

A "blind" PD - Sounds like a great solution to me !!!

FYI - The previous comment I submitted evidently got "S-canned" ??? Guess it wasn't polite enough - Oh Well .....

Retired Chief @ 2/23/2015 4:13 PM

de Blasio is a communist and Bratton is a politically correct non-leader. Both established facts. Neither care for the well being of NYPD officers. They care only for themselves. If someone told me to implement those anxiety reducing techniques during a volatile incident I would tell them where to go and where they could shove their ill founded advice. End of story.

Federali @ 2/23/2015 4:13 PM

C'mon! It's too early for April Fool's jokes!!!

Javier Cornejo @ 2/23/2015 4:16 PM

Why is it that people who don't know a thing about law enforcement always believe they are in a position to advise members of law enforcement on how to do their job? Do you tell the plumber how to fix your pipes? Do you tell the electrician how to wire your house? Do you tell the surgeon how to perform a surgery? It is obvious that the trainers are not "street cops". I find it hard to believe that the Police Commissioner, who I assume has some police experience, would condone such training. It appears to me that Commissioner Bratton has forgotten what it's like to be an officer working the streets and has become nothing more than an administrator trying to stay on the Mayor's good side.

b .j. watkins @ 2/23/2015 4:17 PM

That's what happens when your police agency is run by people who have never been in a squad car as a rookie officer and seen the streets for what they really are.....glad I'm retired....and not working for NYPD....

David Jefferson @ 2/23/2015 4:22 PM

de Blasio is a Communist who hates the police. Idiotic advice from him is no surprise. Nor is the fact that he is wasting $35 Million on such "training." Look a little farther and you'll notice that de Blasio's buddies have their hands in that pot of loot.

CDN LEO @ 2/23/2015 4:24 PM

Incredible. The lunatics are running the asylum. Well done mayor sh!t-for-brains.

Popo50 @ 2/23/2015 4:33 PM

Follow the money. $35 Million went into someone's pocket for this training. Maybe it was a community activist or payback for a campaign donation. You could pay me $100,000 and I could teach proverbs like "turn the other cheek", "do onto others", "give them a fish". Ok lets all take a deep breath, take a step back and put yourself in their shoes. How would you like to be treated if you are misunderstood, lacking opportunities and needing to take your anger out on something? I say don't worry be happy.

Baker @ 2/23/2015 4:38 PM

I am speechless. A two day program. "smart policing". Breathing exercises. $35 million. Mayor de Blasio. Got it. This is so stupid it absolutely leaves me speechless. Drink, anyone?

bob retired leo @ 2/23/2015 4:41 PM

Dont forget when your on the range to close youre eyes and imagine its your mayor. Happy qualifying.

notmeofficer @ 2/23/2015 5:03 PM

Breathing ... OK.. we already do that... but can you imagine state ding up in front of a group of coppers telling us to shut our eyes

And we laughed when verbal judo was being taught... now liberals are going to try and see if we want to die.
Deblasio is an idiot... Beatton should be ashaned

James @ 2/23/2015 5:05 PM

$35 million????

HOSHI @ 2/23/2015 6:55 PM

Then there is the Deputy Commissioner who wants to issue breath mints to be used when an officer thinks he is going to curse. He also suggests spraying protesters with baby oil. The Peter Principle lives in New York.

richard @ 2/23/2015 7:00 PM

As a Buddhist retired police officer I condone using breath exercises in serious circumstances. however, telling a police officer in this situation to close his or her eyes is just, as a practicing Buddhist would say, FUBAR. to the teacher of this course, please get help. you are over your head when it comes to teaching police officers. go back to your yoga classes and leave police training to the experts in the field of officer survival training. what's next, burning incense during a fire fight and to telling the enemy make love, not war.

Leonard Mather @ 2/23/2015 7:09 PM

Speaking as a Forensic Psychologist with a Clinical background, internship at Central State's Criminally Insane Ward, in Petersburg, VA, I am quite sure that closing one's eyes and taking a deep breath is more appropriate for the mate of a known wife beater than it is for a LEO during a potential confrontation. For the latter, I would advise keeping your eyes open, and keeping your eyes on the pupils of your opponent. You will be looking for evidence of drugs and/or signs of imminent attack on your person. Be aware of striking distance, hand movements for weapons, perspiration and general agitation. Closing your eyes and taking a deep breath are to be limited to interactions with Mayor de Blasio, and not with Perps.

Retired NY Boss @ 2/23/2015 7:20 PM

From what I've been hearing all this new training is a joke.

Gerard @ 2/23/2015 8:01 PM

Ask DeBlasio to walk down the streets of bed-sty with his eyes closed. To my brothers of the NYPD:God Bless you and Be Safe. Remember, I'd rather be judged by 12 then carried by 6.

kevCopAz @ 2/23/2015 9:24 PM

you got to be kidding me,,,NYC has 35 Million $ to spend on this crap? If I were a tax payer there I would be livid!. This better not be Federal funds cause I don't want to pay for this crap.

Chicago Cop @ 2/23/2015 10:55 PM

You guys in NYPD want to take McCarthy back?

Ret Motor Boots @ 2/24/2015 12:02 AM

I had to close my eyes and take a deep breath after reading this, as it angered me thinking that officers could get hurt if they actually tried doing this if front of some crook looking to get over on an officer. I teach my officers breathing techniques at the range when lining up their sights, for defensive tactics (baton, takedowns, boxing, etc.) and breathing while socially engineering people into handcuffs / de-escalation. But, having officers close their eyes during an event?!? NEVER!!!

Danny T @ 2/24/2015 12:26 AM

The breathing exercise is promoted by LtCol Gross man, US Military and several other entities, it's called "Combat Breathing." The technique works in high stress situations. I'm not quite sure were the "Eyes Closed" component enters into the equations, huge officer safety issue.

My brother in the east need to keep their eyes open toward the suspect, but to new training too.

Semper Fi

N. Zingo @ 2/24/2015 2:07 AM

You are kidding? 35 million dollars for training that instructs officers to "close their eyes" during tense situations? Who is the company that designed this crap? Does their company know ANYTHING about policing at all? Do they employ current or retired law enforcement personnel with any expertise at all? What a WASTE of taxpayers funds!

nolan @ 2/24/2015 2:58 AM

Unbelievable. That is asinine advice. It's pretty obvious that the mayor and commissioner don't have the officers best interest at heart. If this how training is going to be then it is time for me to retire. Step back, take a deep breath, close your eyes and get sucker punched. The new way of training in 2015. No thank you, I will keep my eyes open and remain tensed and alert.

XXXXX @ 2/24/2015 4:13 AM

Excellent idea! From now on, when someone is mad at me, I’m going to close my eyes and say three times, “make the bad guy go away, make the bad guy go away, make the bad guy go away.” In a liberal world, police officer's lives are expendable and criminals behavior is excusable. It is always better for a politician if an officer were to be killed in the line of duty than to have an officer kill someone (justified or not, doesn't matter). Think about it, no politician wants people "protesting" on their streets, but a police funeral, well now that's great PR for any politician. Don't believe me, next time an officer is killed in the line of duty, ask the local politician not to speak. I bet they will anyway. Be safe and for God sake keep your eyes open.

jnolan @ 2/24/2015 6:16 AM

Hey, Kevin Costner did it in the Bodyguard movie!!! I think I am going to try it.......... NOT!!!!!

C. Bates @ 2/24/2015 6:27 AM

Almost as unbelievable as a less lethal device for a Glock handgun...just saying.

Trigger @ 2/24/2015 7:02 AM

Danny T is correct with the "Combat Breathing" definitely works when needed but with eyes open. I guess if your world is sitting behind a desk the worst that could happen is falling out of your chair!!

Lt Dan @ 2/24/2015 7:38 AM

About 30 years ago I was asked to leave a training class on weapon retention because I refused to agree that if someone was grabbing for your gun you should move toward them so they couldn't pull it from your holster. What worked for me was to secure it and create distance. Hopefully a leader will step up in New York and throw the Bullsh!t flag on this. Note to self: This Spring's trip to NYC will be the last for you and any of your family members. It isn't going to be safe for long.

tom @ 2/24/2015 7:42 AM

Lets all just join hands and sign coom-by-ya.
Close my eyes with a hot head in front of me, yea right.

Reynolds @ 2/24/2015 7:54 AM

This new training program makes a lot of sense, if it is the objection of the administrators to get Officers Killed or greaviously wounded.

Mike @ 2/24/2015 8:05 AM

The only cops that should close their eyes are the ones on the mayors security detail.

KAYO40 @ 2/24/2015 11:23 AM

This is sad. Well guys and gals on the NYPD put a mint in your mouth instead of F_ _ K., baby oil for crowd control, and when a perp excites you just take a deep breath. If that doesn't work shot the bast__D

Larry Hollis @ 2/24/2015 12:07 PM

who the hell got the 35 million?? sounds like it's time for a grand jury investigation for the misappropriation of government funds

Ron @ 2/24/2015 2:43 PM

Typical political correct nonsense from politicians whose idea of a tense situation is when the coffee machine breaks down. If a police officer closes his eyes in a "tense" situation he may never open them again. This is just another bureaucrat attempt to appease the politically correct masses. Why not issue police officers in New York a box of kleenex, six pack of coke, teddy bears, and the words to "We are the world" or "Can't we all just get along?" Trying supporting your police officers instead of hindering them.

Lee @ 2/24/2015 2:54 PM

Hold a second. To be fair - yes, you should control your breathing. As you know breath control is just as important at the same time as trigger control!!

rede2hike @ 2/25/2015 8:47 AM

I got this same training from a anger management counselor that I was sent to after my female partner was attacked by our sheriff's fishing buddy and I got written up for being mean.
The tree hugging, puppy kissing, college educated idiot tried telling me the same crap and I had to explain that closing my eyes and finding a happy place and practicing deep breathing might work for his crowd but in the real world where I lived that was impractical and explained in some detail how that just doesn't work.
The following week when I went back for my scheduled visit the idiot had quit.
Get a grip people, the world is a nasty, evil place full of people that should not be allowed to breath let alone walk amongst us. But the huggy, lets hold hands, and sing songs and everything will be alright crowd wont allow us to do anything about them so we are stuck with them in government and in the general population.

Jim @ 2/25/2015 10:19 AM

Tried this once working securty at a hospital. The subject thought i was mocking him and made a complaint.

Dennis @ 2/25/2015 2:18 PM

Nothing wrong with the tactical breathing technique except the way this is being taught here. NEVER close your eyes or take your eyes off the situation. 3 deep belly breaths is a good way to use the normally autonomic response of breathing to slow the heart rate down and bring yourself from a condition red back to a more calm and collected condition yellow. But never take your eyes off the threat. Been a cop for 40 years and a police trainer for 30. Closing your eyes is probably the most stupid advice I've ever heard.

Andrew Williams @ 2/26/2015 4:46 AM

The breathing exercise is very good but close your eyes in a tense situation is utter nonsense. To close your eyes in a situation is just as good if you turn your back on the person.

AL @ 2/28/2015 2:48 PM


Robert Larke @ 3/5/2015 1:52 PM

Taking a second to calm down is OK, better to be centered than to do something that gets caught on video and you will regret, but to close your eyes is just plain stupid. Your job is to get through the tour and back to your family.

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