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View Poll Results: Do LEO's have the proper training to handle a shootout when it happens?
Yes 17 34.69%
No 32 65.31%
Voters: 49. You may not vote on this poll

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Old April 15, 2011, 08:26 PM   #1
WhiskeyTango
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LEO Training, Good Enough?

I will start this thread by suggesting you read the thread "Why .40 cal" over in hand guns, and then come back to this. The debate started over why LE made the switch to the .40 cal platform. I think it has allot to do with the Brass not wanting to rewrite the training books, or spend the extra time and money necessary to train LEO's to be ready for a "shoot out". All to often we read or hear on the news about a shoot out where massive amounts of rounds were fired and the suspect was either never hit or barley wounded. Is this because the LEO's were not trained properly? Or not enough? Some very good points were made, including someone pointing out that LEO's have a job to do every day and simply do not have the time to train the way our combat troops do, therefore have to take it upon themselves to train for any given situation. I think this is a huge problem facing LEO's, is it fair to ask them to serve and protect everyday and not provide them with the proper training? So, two questions to get it started,

1.) Are LEO's properly trained in hand gun proficiency, stress management under extreme conditions, and mentally prepared to deal with a shoot out?

2.) What would you suggest a department do to better prepare LEO's, so when the lead starts flying they know what to expect.
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Old April 15, 2011, 10:50 PM   #2
fourrobert13
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I am an leo...

No...most if not all officers do not receive enough training. From my own experience, I fired 1200 rounds in the academy, then 60 rounds a year to qualify until one day I woke up and smelled the roses. I realized that 60 rounds a year was not enough, so I went to my chief and told him the same thing. Life was good, he sent me to and funded 3 training classes a year and provided the ammo. After 2008, budget cuts lead to my training be cut back to 60 rounds per year. I didn't care for that, so I spoke with my wife (also leo) and started traing on my own nickle. We budget for it and take to classes per year, plus whatever training (if any) our departments may provide. We look at it as an investment in our lives and we write it off on our taxes. One thing people don't realize is that not all cops are gun people. A lot of cops never shot a gun until they became a cop and dread when they do have to train with it. This makes things hard for instructors (like myself) who have to train these people. They could really care less and believe all the statistics they are quoted about gun fights and so on that they feel they are adequitly trained for such an encounter. I've got my chief doing firearms training twice a year now, but that could change if our budget gets cut again, but I'll take what I can get to better train my people reguardless if they want it or not. I know a lot of cops in the same boat as me and they are doing the same thing that my wife and I do because they want to be properly trained should the time come to need it. I read your other thread and it's just not possible to train all the time like military personell, but it is possible to get training, and practice if the person wants to. Just my take on the subject.
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Old April 15, 2011, 11:30 PM   #3
moose_nukelz
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Agree'd, we do not get enough training either. My department does two shoots a year consisting of 100 rounds each time with pistol, once a year with shotgun which is 18 rounds and M4 once but we shot up most of the training ammo and there are no plans to get anymore. The "stress" course of fire is a complete joke and does not replicate an actual stressful situation.

I too train and shoot on my own dime. One of the benefits of being a police officer at a military college, there is no shortage of Special Operations guys that would gladly trade some top notch marksmanship training for some range time at a law enforcement range so they can keep up their skill set. I was a decent shot before, but my shooting improved exponentially after a few hours at the range with those guys.
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Old April 15, 2011, 11:30 PM   #4
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No, they do not, not as a whole. Of course, we want them to do a zillion things when dealing with people of all sorts of mind sets and walks of life and in all sorts of situations, most of which are not pleasant and to do them extremely well.

A firearm is probably one of the least used weapons of law enforcement in terms of actually using it (firing, not just drawing) in a crisis. It would be really good if at the point and time a LEO used lethal force that there not be anyone else around with near the skill set as the LEO because of having such extensive and continued training, but that just isn't going to happen.

It would be nice of regular LEOs trained as hard as SWAT officers, but who can afford it?

Taxpayers don't seem willing to pay for LEOs to have all the training necessary to make them significantly better officers, or for us to have more officers.
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Old April 15, 2011, 11:53 PM   #5
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See this is what I was afraid of, I'm thinking there won't be one LEO out there who says they get enough training. I think it's B.S., how the hell can we expect you guys to protect the masses when your not provided the training you deserve. The fact that you have to go pay for it on your own time is ridiculous. I understand that you can't train like combat troops, but even some 9mm paint ball games once every 2 months would be better than nothing. That was one of the things that got us ready, those things hurt bad, and the sounds were real, the guns were real, and the pain was real. It was as close as we could get before shipping out.
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Old April 16, 2011, 12:07 AM   #6
fourrobert13
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Quote:
It would be nice of regular LEOs trained as hard as SWAT officers, but who can afford it?
I was on the swat team prior to budget cuts and we trained twice a month, but it wasn't always shooting. A large department that would have a dedicated swat team would train all the time unless on a call out, but those of us in rural areas don't have that luxiary. It all boils down to budgets and department needs. If a department is involved in a lot of shootings, they'll fork out the cash for proper training, but if not, they'll spend the money where ever else it would be needed (narcotics, mentally ill persons, and so on). There is case law on a failure to train over firearms and a department was sued because they only shot once a year, but this hasn't changed the way things are done for smaller departments. Until budgets are balanced and everyone is working again, there won't be any funding for training.
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Old April 16, 2011, 12:09 AM   #7
moose_nukelz
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A lot of it comes down to funding, simunition/real ammo and schools all cost money and there just is not a whole lot of it going around. I know pretty much every agency in California is broke and most Federal Agencies are on a hiring freeze outside of hiring money that was previously allocated or jobs are limited to internal hires.
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Old April 16, 2011, 07:06 AM   #8
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First, a little background. I've been a cop for thirty years. Before that I was a soldier and after my soldiering stint I did the Reserve/Guard thing until I retired from Uncle Sam's employment. I've been a trainer and I've been on SWAT teams. I've heard shots fired in anger. Been there, done that.

No, cops don't get enough training, but most LEO training is bullcrap for several reasons. First, we're not training for combat. Combat involves maneuver elements, and LEO scenarios don't involve maneuver elements.. Pure and simple. LEO scenarios involve fights and in the vast majority of LEO scenarios I've seen, the student cannot win.

I get it, okay? I work daily in a high-stress environment, where any interaction can turn deadly at the blink of an eye. Yet, effective training gives the student the expectation of success. If it doesn't give that expectation, then you're training the student to fail, and that's not the purpose of effective training.

My department puts us through scenario based training every year, and the deputies routinely curse it. It's something to be endured, another check on the form. In my particular field of expertise, I did some serious mind-gaming eight years ago and came to the conclusion that A+B=C. every year during scenario training, I'd raise my hand and suggest that A+B=C, and the trainers would say no, A+B=D. Okay, I'd go through the training, knowing in my mind that it was crap. Last year, during the initial briefing, the trainers told us that they'd changed their minds, that A+B=C. I raised my hand again and reminded them that I'd been saying that for eight years, but they insisted I was wrong. Then I told them that I'd since moved on, done some more thinking about the issue and that X+Y=Z. They're still six years behind a serious student of this particular problem.

Training is only effective if several conditions are met. First, you've got to think through the training in a logical and orderly process and set certain goals and objectives. Those goals and objectives have to be easily stated and reasonably attainable. Second, you've got to communicate those goals and objectives to the student. Third, if the student meets those goals and objectives, you've got to pass the student. There can't be any surprises, there can't be any trick-plays. Any trainer that tricks his students is a prick of the rarest variety.

Most LEO scenario-based training is not designed to allow the student to win. It's designed to put the student in an unfamiliar situation and react to unrealistic conditions so that those reactions can be analyzed. Yet, those expectations are never stated.

I go into my scenario-based training every year with a sense of fatalistic dread. It's something to be endured, like a trip to the proctologist. I have no expectation of success, only of having to endure eight hours of unrealistic bullcrap, with the last hour being a "we're so great and you guys suck" analysis.

I could rant like this for hours.
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Old April 16, 2011, 07:24 AM   #9
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Quote:
how the hell can we expect you guys to protect the masses when your not provided the training you deserve.
Expecting a relative 'hand-full' of officers to protect the masses is unrealistic to begin with.

I fully expect (and train for) protecting myself and family. It is fairly rare that LE actually stops a crime. Majority of the time they are there 'after the fact'.

As for training, I used to work part-time at our local FOP range. The vast majority of our local officers and deputies who shoot qualification here are like the majority of CCW holders: they aren't 'gun people'. Many cops only do it because it is a job requirement. I see weekly cops hitting the streets to protect and serve that had barely inched by the minimum score required (and quite happy with those scores).

Heck, I know cops who don't even carry a gun when off duty (or maybe only in their car). I only know of a (very) few other local CCW holders who carry 24/7 like myself and my wife do, either.

Based on my observations, I would say that even with a very high dollar training budget, there would only be a few officers who would take advantage of the ammo and training time.
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Old April 16, 2011, 07:36 AM   #10
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The lack of training for tactics and firearms is a given. What is also needed is periodic psychological evaluation.
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Old April 16, 2011, 07:55 AM   #11
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About the best trained officers that I have had the opportunity to train or observe their training have been that of LA, Dekalb Co Georgia, any officer can always go and get more training but the numbers are few and I believe it is even worst now because you have people taking these jobs because they need a job. I say this because I work for a vendor that trains police from all over the country corrections officers also.

One of my instructors will let an officer from the city and county he lives in come to his classes for free just buy their own ammo. Guest how many come.

I do believe officer associate going to the range with work so that is why they do not do it.
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Old April 16, 2011, 08:55 AM   #12
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The problem is, you can't force training on someone. You can make them qualify, but if they aren't interested, then all the training in the world wont work.

That's the problem you have with many LO Officers, they just aren't interested and that's where we are when it comes to cops.
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Old April 16, 2011, 09:16 AM   #13
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As a Government Agent, we trained every 6 months. Training was intense and is was over a 5 day period with limitless amounts of ammo. Each of us took home as much ammo as we could carry with the understanding it was our own responsibility to maintain our skills until the next training session. I usually went thru all the ammo in about a month's time and bought my own, deducting the expense from my income tax.

Being retired, I don't want to lose those skills. I shoot regularly with a good friend that is active LE. He, too, realizes that his Dept. does not do enough training...not that they don't want to, they just do not have the budget for it. We shoot together, train together, and we both do it on our own expense. He gets to deduct it from his income tax. And we both have the self confidence and ability to use our guns skillfully if ever a situation arises that would call for it. One of my friend's concerns is his partners lack of adequate training. He may need him to watch his back one day and the skills may not be there for the lack of frequent and adequate training due to budget cuts.
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Old April 16, 2011, 09:49 AM   #14
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Being retired, I don't want to lose those skills. I shoot regularly with a good friend that is active LE. He, too, realizes that his Dept. does not do enough training...not that they don't want to, they just do not have the budget for it.
The department might want more training, but chances are, most of the cops don't want to be forced to go through it. Heck, they know their lives may depend on their gun skills and far too many won't spend $25 every two months to put 50-100 rounds down range. The mindset seems to be that if the department isn't paying for it, they sure as heck won't pay for it as the department would be getting a better skilled officer at no expense to the department. They seem to fail to realize that it isn't the department that is going to benefit.

Heck, far too many officers don't bother to properly maintain their carry weapons. Of course, all this seems to hold for CCW folks as well, but to a lesser extent as they usually carry because they want to, not because somebody is forcing them.
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Old April 16, 2011, 10:44 AM   #15
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As a police officer and firearms instructor I can only speak of my agency. It is my opinion that we don't get enough training of any type related to law enforcement. We get what I feel is too much computer based feel good courses but little job oriented training. We are allowed a small amount of ammo for practice, familarization, and qualification (about 480 rounds per year for each officer). What extra ammo there is goes to other groups who want to get some trigger time. The other groups could easily obtain ammo from the same location we do but for some unknown reason we have to supply them with our ammo. Some agencies are lucky enough to get 1000 rounds of ammo per officer each year. In the academy the average officer shoots about 800 to 1200 rounds. Why do the same agencies think half of that is enough after the academy?
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Old April 16, 2011, 11:10 AM   #16
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See this is what I was afraid of, I'm thinking there won't be one LEO out there who says they get enough training. I think it's B.S., how the hell can we expect you guys to protect the masses when your not provided the training you deserve. The fact that you have to go pay for it on your own time is ridiculous.
I pinned my first badge on in 1976. Franky I think it's ridiculous that many of my fellow officers lack the incentive to invest the time and money to become proficient- and by that I mean the ability to deliver a controlled burst at spitting distance, make 50 yard body hits on demand or 50 yard head shots from cover and an improvised rest. These things are attainable but nobody can just hand them to you. You have to understand the importance of zero with your duty load, the ability to hold a precise sight picture under stress, and the wherewithal to press that trigger despite the urge to shove the gun out there and yank it repeatedly. Further, you have to immerse yourself in each of your weapons until running/reloading them requires no conscious thought. And finally, you have to be able to admit that you're in a deadly force encounter and commit to pouring gunfire into another human being until they are no longer capable of being a threat to you.

While I absolutely support better firearms training for officers, throwing money at the problem won't change the individual's mindset. I have close contacts in the military who are also weapons trainers and the problem is as prevalent in the military as it is in LE. Neither organization has the training budget necessary for total immersion in a particular weapons system. There is a small percentage who understand this and who will make the necessary investment to attain it.

For others, a baptism of fire is the only thing that wakes them up.

Edited to add: I voted yes. My guys get enough training to insure combat accuracy but more importantly, they know the score and the need to become one with their weapons. All of them shoot on their own time and yes, I subsidize that effort with dept-issue ammo whenever I can.
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Old April 16, 2011, 11:10 AM   #17
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Wow!... I am blessed.

I was fortunate to have served with a department that takes training very seriously.

Because it is a large department we had a large staff assigned to the PAFTS.
(police academy firearms tactics section) Firearms training and tactics are married. Tactics are developed, and trained for at the range. One unique thing is that range officers actually go out and operate with ESS, Narcotics, Detectives, and plain clothed units in order to devlop these tactics. Every sworn member was mandated to attend two range dates every year. During those dates Officers fired 250 hundred rounds on the outdoor cycle, and 150 rounds on the indoor. During the outdoor cycle are taught new tactics, and revewed existing ones. The indoor cycle more concentrates on shooting skills.
The department also made available for free 50 rounds per month at any department range for any member who wanted to practice.

Training is more than range time. We were provided "IN SERVICE TRAINING" for every member assigned to patrol. These sessions were one or two days long and happened every quarter. so four times a year. It was mostly classroom stuff, but every so often the class would go out to a deserted neighborhood, and train making car stops, felony stops, riot control, Felony take downs, and other hands on stuff.

In addition to the above anyone assigned to a unit that required the use of weapons other than a service pistol had at least one more day at the range. In fact a day to train with and qualify with each weapon authorized... So a man authorized for an undercover pistol, shotgun, rifle, and MP5 would get an additional 4 days at the range.

So my answer would be that IN MY EXPERIENCE yes police do recieve enough training. Having said this... It's my opinion that MOST police officers dont take full advantage of the training that is provided. And fail big time to initiate any independant training or practice. Most cops dont think anthing can or will happen to them. It's always the other guy.

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Old April 16, 2011, 11:16 AM   #18
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Glen Dee....

... it's all relative.

I shot 500 rounds in one session, two days ago; that seems to be more than the annual training for your department. Another session or two would account for your department's 50rds/month allowance.

On average, I shoot more every two to three weeks than your guys did every year.

I know of some units that shoot a lot more than that, but it's pretty rare for any government agency to cough up as much training ammo as they probably should.
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Old April 16, 2011, 11:34 AM   #19
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I still say its an individual problem, not a department problem. Our department had a once a year "all day" qualification & training session. In addition to that we had monthly qualification requirements, we range officers would call guys off the street to qualify, of shoot pretty much as much as they wanted, extra training or what ever. It was like pulling hen's teeth to get these guys to show up.

We also gave everyone an additional box of ammo, and offered more it they wished. You'd find officers with wall lockers full of ammo that the got over the years.

Its worse in Fed LE Agencies, they have a bigger budget and get more ammo, I've had FLO give me cases of ammo they didn't want to shoot up. I get a kick out of watching some FBI guys that show up to some of our pistol matches, they can sure shoot a lot, you can tell they get the bullets, but in LE you have to account for all those bullets that MISS.

You have exceptions, you'll always find guys who will shoot every chance they get, and every bullet they can get, but they are rare.

Don't think SWAT officers are differant, I did the firearms training for our SWAT (we called them CRT), its the same thing except you have the EGO thing thrown in, "We are SWAT, we know how to shoot, you can't teach me anything".

What's the answer? Got me, I've been searching for it for over 35 years. I don't believe throwing money at it is the answer. I've see our department go from basicly nothing to a well funded firearms training budget but the results didn't reflect the money spent.
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Old April 16, 2011, 12:35 PM   #20
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What's the answer?
Attitude and mindset.

Always will be. Unfortunately, they don't issue this in Basic or the Academy.
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Old April 16, 2011, 01:37 PM   #21
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A Contrary Opinion

I think the overwhelming majority of LEOs are adequately trained in the use of lethal force to perform their duties.

I am a firearms instructor for our agency. Our policy was shaped by very dedicated instructors, and is constantly evolving. Our officers are trained to meet that standard. We qualify and perform an additional course at least quarterly with our handguns. Long guns must be fired in at least two quarters per year. Additionally, there are annual requirements for night shooting, BUGs, etc.

Safety is constantly stressed. Each range session begins with a recitation of the firearms safety rules. Officers are monitored at the range for unsafe habits. Proper technique is trained. All weapons are inspected annually, and get a detailed disassembly and cleaning by a trained inspector.

We get force-on-force training at the academy, and periodically in the field (not as much as we'd like, maybe every couple of years). Money is tight, but time is the real restriction. Just staying within policy on training takes lots of effort.

The skill level of individual officers runs the gamut. A few are second-to-none, a few are pretty clueless, most are in between. All are within policy (well, mostly, most of the time...).

I think this is about the best one can reasonably ask for. As far as training resources go, I think Defensive Tactics is far more perishable and far more difficult to train, not to mention medical, driving and legal training, and those skills are used much more often than lethal force.

LEOs are only human. Violence is not pretty, and it is easy to armchair quarterback something on YouTube. Finally, even the best of us makes mistakes. In an extreme situation, there is little margin for error, and great consequences if an error is made. However, patrol officers are not going to be able to maintain levels of training achieved by selected elites, and it is not efficient to attempt it.

Going back to the original post, cops handle shootouts by calling for backup, establishing containment, and sending in the experts. It always works, in the end, and for the vast majority of incidents, this is the best course of action. Clearly, there are times when more offensive tactics would better protect life, and doctrine is evolving for active-shooter scenarios.

Anyway, this country has the most professional, honest, best trained and just law enforcement in the world, given the level of violence in the society at large. I guess the scrutiny and lawyers keep us on our toes, so it's good, but when I see a post denigrating the skills of LEOs, I think the burden of proof rests with those bringing it into doubt.

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Old April 16, 2011, 02:03 PM   #22
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MLeake

I see your point. And I believe that it's valid one. I agree the average firearms enthusiast fires probably thousands of rounds more than the average police officer. Unless of course he's a firearms enthusiast also.

You can fire live ammo during training. But firing live ammo dont equate to training. It's practice. Practice is great. As others have stated... Firearms related tasks other than training and practice takes up probably less than one percent of the average officers time. Firearms are most officers least used tool... But it's the only one that MUST be right each and every single time...

Contrary to popular belief, Police hit their intended target a heck of a lot more than they miss. But only the misses and mistakes are news so thats what we hear about.

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Old April 16, 2011, 02:21 PM   #23
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The main reason most Police Depts. do not receive enough of any kind of training is because of one thing.MONEY. You get what the Dept. can afford and if you are smart,you will practice on your own and take any kind of class that will help you out in your performance.
TV cops shoot someone every week.In 32 years I shot nobody.No shots,no misses.I handcuffed thousands,struck with a baton hundreds,and sprayed dozens.I wore out countlass holsters drawing and holstering but never had to pull the trigger.The same goes for most of the folks on my Dept.
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Old April 16, 2011, 02:27 PM   #24
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Glen Dee...

I agree there are differences between practice and training.

I've also had training from firearms instructors from all four service branches, at one time or another. (I was Navy; served in a few Joint environments, and over the years got to qualify, re-qualify, or fam-fire on a bunch of stuff.) In training environments, got to shoot while wearing armor; while moving around barricades; while doing 4-man forced entries (not fun, and I'm pretty happy I don't do that for a living ); and on night courses of fire. Plus some full auto, and a grenade launcher.

Martial arts have been my other major hobby since the mid-90's, so I've played around a lot with weapon retention, too. Even have the blue plastic Glock, and a couple of training knives (wood and hard rubber) for those drills.

Some of the guys I shoot and work out with are LEO. They seem to think most of their co-workers don't get enough training, or practice for that matter.

I know several of them have tried to get their buddies interested in coming to the dojo or coming to the range, but there are some guys out there who just lack the interest.
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Old April 16, 2011, 02:43 PM   #25
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I voted yes. Compared to most perps, police are far better trained. I am sure that limits in funding prevents the police from receiving as much training as they would benefit from. We should be willing to spend whatever it takes to give the police the maximum amount of training that would benefit them.
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