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!