FBI-CJIS Security Policy Compliance Officer
Mark Rivera, Customer Retention Manager and CJIS Security Compliance Officer with Vigilant Solutions, served for sixteen years with the Maryland State Police, retiring at the rank of First Sergeant with thirteen of those years at the supervisory and command level. He holds a Master of Science Degree in Management from The Johns Hopkins University and Secret clearance through the FBI, Baltimore.
Communications and sensitivity skills training are not enough. In fact, the third and critical component of training that should be mandatory for all law enforcement officers is defensive tactics.
Retention holsters have their benefits and can help you defeat some gun grabs, but all officers also need to know how to defeat the attacker physically during a gun grab attack.
It is ridiculous to think that an officer could take a single defensive tactics course that teaches specific techniques for knife defense and then be prepared for a knife attack.
Because police training is in the news we thought it was a good time to ask veteran officers and trainers how they would improve law enforcement training and make it more effective. The following is collected from the comments of more than a dozen sources.
How many times do we consider what we would do if someone introduced a knife into a fight in which we were already engaged? Do we have the ability to draw and fire? Can we create distance or even defend ourselves properly in order to survive the attack? These are questions rarely addressed.
Let's discuss the best strategy to deal with the situation where you are forced to the ground by the arrestee, who ends up in your "guard" (on top but not mounted—simply between your legs).
One excellent technique for gaining control of a resisting person that doesn't require you to take him to the ground or use a weapon is the rear wrist lock.
Even a well-trained officer can find him- or herself on the ground when initiating an arrest. Things happen quickly and things can get ugly quickly. Be sure that you are ready to counter any grabs for your weapons.
Your defensive tactics training should be intense, exhausting, applicable, and eye-opening. Don't come to in-service training dressed for vacation or expecting to sleepwalk through the course.
You are a chief or sheriff. Get real and train with your officers. You should be one of the first enrolled in your defensive tactics and subject control training classes. Your attendance and participation will speak to all, and what it will say is this stuff is real and it's important.