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Old May 18, 2011, 11:57 AM   #1
LordTio3
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Need Advice on Pre-LEO Training

Hey ladies and men, I've been away for a while but am returning with a vengeance. I have made the decision to pursue a career in law enforcement. I discussed this at length with my wife and family and have their full support. From some of them, I've received an overwhelming amount of support, which brings me here.

I have an Uncle who is by far the coolest man I know. He carries an xD40 every day as an armed citizen, and has had the opportunity to get a significant amount of professional training; which he highly advocates. So much so, that when he first heard about my decision, he told me that his gift to me this year would be to treat me to a 3-day training weekend at the Tactical Defense Institute in Ohio, in order to give me a leg up on the other guys (good and bad). Seminars, force on force, kill houses, defense scenarios, and a TON of shooting. Apparently we're going to work from the holster, like, a LOT; and our training group is advised to bring 1800 rounds of ammunition for 3 days. What a gift, right?

So, I come to my point. I've got a hefty shopping list to get through between now and then and I've come for some general advice. Below I've listed the things I'm looking at. If there is anyone out there who has other suggestions on alternatives, recommendations on where to buy, general advice about the training I may receive, comments about attitude/readiness/etc..., or just general contributions, I would really appreciate it.

Things I already have: (Glock 19 9mm, 3 factory Glock magazines, muffs, safety glasses, shooting gloves)


Shopping list (subject to change based on advice...)-
Tactical OWB holster (needed)-
Blackhawk Serpa Sportster ($30-35)-


Dual Magazine Rig (needed)-
Fobus Double Mag Pouch ($25)


Better Gun Belt (preferred)-
Open to suggestions between $30-$50.

Ka-Bar TDI (Tactical Defense Institute) (Will get anyway)-
Open to where to buy. ($30)


1800-2000 rounds of 9x19mm (no lead)-
Really not sure. I don't think they'll allow reloads. 115 gr of any reputable brand with a brass case would be acceptable. I've never bought ammo in this quantity before, so I'm looking for deals. ($250-400?)


Any advice at all would be appreciated very highly; about the trip, training, equipment, pricing, becoming an officer or anything else. Thanks in advance to all.

~LT
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Old May 18, 2011, 02:02 PM   #2
Single Six
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Congratulations on your decision. Ours is a noble profession, and we're always in need of good folks to join the ranks. The first advice I'll give you is this: If you're not doing this already, start getting in the best physical condition you possibly can. I'm talking about a steady regimen of lifting weights and also lots of running, pushups, and situps. If the Academy you'll be attending is anything like the ones we have in N.C., you WILL be doing lots of P.T. The better physical shape you're in when you show up, the easier time you'll have of it. Put another way; it's far easier to already be in great shape when you go, as opposed to having to let your instructors make you accomplish that as the weeks progress. As far as shooting, just concentrate on your marksmanship skills prior to entering the academy. The fact that you're a member of TFL tells me you're probably already a good shooter. Keep up your practice, and any training scenarios you may be doing now won't hurt either [though the cadre at your school will likely have plenty of those waiting for you also]. Best of luck; please keep us updated on how it goes..and feel free to PM me if you ever have any questions.
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Old May 18, 2011, 02:22 PM   #3
Single Six
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P.S.: Some other suggestions: You mentioned attitude. Here is what has worked very well for me for over 20 years now: Treat everyone you deal with on the street as you yourself would like to be treated. I don't care if we're talking about Donald Trump or a hopeless wino, always treat people with respect. It is FAR easier to talk a man into the handcuffs than it is to fight him into the handcuffs. Granted, there are some people out there you'll deal with that you're just going to have to go "hands-on" with, but your use of manners and respect will keep that to a bare minimum. Another thing: Practice "if-then" thinking. Example: You may pull over a thousand vehicles on traffic stops, and every one of the drivers of same may pull a registration card out of the glove box. So when you pull over #1001 and instead of a registration card, he pulls out a gun, you're caught unprepared...if you're not ready. Think this way: "IF he pulls out a gun, THEN I'm going to..." My point is, ALWAYS expect the unexpected. Complacency kills. The business with the alarm that goes off every night? The day may come when that alarm is NOT false. So I don't care how often you go to the false alarm, you must ALWAYS assume it's for real. Again, complacency kills! Also, make the commitment to stay in great physical shape once you leave the academy behind. Too many officers don't..and it shows. Street people will be less likely to "try" an officer that is obviously in superlative condition. I have personally done this; according to the guy who measures us for uniforms every year, I'm the only officer at my PD whose pants size has never changed. So, it CAN be done! Lastly, never forget that there is more to life than police work. Many new officers are consumed by their jobs. Don't forget to make time for friends, family, and non-LE associated activities. Again; best of luck to you. Hope I've been of some help.
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Last edited by Single Six; May 18, 2011 at 02:49 PM.
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Old May 18, 2011, 02:54 PM   #4
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Very nice gift your uncle is giving you. I might suggest the following: ear plugs as well as muffs, 2- elbow and knee pads, 3- baby wipes great for a quick dirt and sweat removal, 4- cap of some sort, 5- extra pair shooting glasses, 6- if you are going to be doing as much shooting as you think you are you may want 2 or even 3 extra mags above those you already have, 6- sunblock.

Now off the subject a little, congrats on you career choice, I spent 27 years on the job, and like every career it had its' ups and downs, but I would not trade those years and friendships I made for anything in the world. If you have a community college near you see if they offer a degree in police science, as law enforcement is much more that shooting skills.

Quote:
P.S.: Treat everyone you deal with on the street as you yourself would like to be treated. I don't care if we're talking about Donald Trump or a hopeless wino,
Excellent advise, I always tried to treat everyone the way I would hope someone would treat my mother.
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Old May 18, 2011, 03:30 PM   #5
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The training would be good whether or not you go into LE ( though it would not help you get the job).

I don't know about Glocks, don't use them. I have the same BH holster for my Beretta 92FS, its comfortable, fast and secure. I normally don't like plactic holsters but for Steel shooting and such with the Beretta its the Kats Meow.

I really don't think that knife thingy will do you any good in LE. A good Leatherman came in awful handy when I was in LE. I've cut seatbelts, wire fenses after a dog got hung up, fixed phone lines because some idiot ex husband ripped the phone out of the jack before he was removed from the house. Helped Stranded motorest, If you want a LE knife, get a Leatherman tool.

Not to mention that 'whatever" would be a turn off to your FTO.
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Old May 18, 2011, 03:45 PM   #6
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The one thing I tell new recruits about the academy is the one thing no one tells them. The academics are fairly easy and the PT is not much of an issue if you're already fit. It's the test that they don't tell you about that will make or break you in the Academy.

The test that they don't tell you about is attitude. If you've got a good attitude, you'll do fine. However, in this line of work, you can never, NEVER, lose your temper. A cop is carrying a gun and is representing an agency. That agency has a huge liability with that officer. If, in the Academy, they can make you lose your temper and do something rash, they'll probably weed you out. I would imagine that more recruits are lost each academy session to a bad temper and rash decision-making than either academics or PT.

After 30 years of police work, I still tell guys that they don't have the right to get their feelings hurt if they're wearing the badge. It's not me in that cop suit, it's the department and I've got to represent the department correctly, coolly, and without passion.

I hope that in 30 years you'll be able to look back on your career with pride.
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Old May 18, 2011, 04:45 PM   #7
Jim Watson
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I think I'd take the gunfighting academy course AFTER going through police training, first time you got three days in a row off. Give the official trainers a blank slate to work on.
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Old May 19, 2011, 03:47 AM   #8
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Quote:
I think I'd take the gunfighting academy course AFTER going through police training, first time you got three days in a row off. Give the official trainers a blank slate to work on.
I disagree...I'd rather have good habits, and know what I'm doing, going in. The training in the academy will almost certainly fall short compared to what you'll get from an outfit like TDI (or many of the other reputable schools).

The caveat is: don't make waves by telling them (the academy instructors) what you already know.
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Old May 19, 2011, 07:39 AM   #9
LordTio3
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Great great advice so far guys. I really enjoy hearing from folks who have the experience I one day hope to possess.

Just for reference, I have a Bachelor's degree in Psychology. While not in Police Science or Criminal Justice, I do believe it will help me in this career field. I've also been shooting since I was about 9 and have a very "systemic/cumulative" attitude about shooting philosophy; as with everything. There is no "Best Way/Strategy/Tactic/Etc..." There is only more or less appropriate given a set of circumstances. Everything I've learned or will learn is viewed through this particular lens. In the academy, there won't be any "Well at TDI...". I'm there to be educated, some more.

I'm also a very cool-headed person. I've been carrying a weapon as a citizen for several years and know that in order to fit your gun in your holster; you've got to take out your temper and your pride. There's only room for one in there, not 3. And I don't take lightly the act of someone endorsing me with the name, power, and credentials of the people of the city that I'm applying.

By the way:
1. I would have completely forgotten sunblock.
2. I've never even thought of Baby Wipes.
3. I DO carry a leatherman! Honestly one of the handiest things I've ever carried on my person. I also carry a utility knife, flashlight, handkerchief, and 2 pieces of folded up notebook paper. I've used them all far more than I would have imagined.
4. About the Ka-Bar TDI...

It is basically a Karambit. Oddly enough, in my central martial art I have my weapons proficiency with a Karambit. The blade is incredibly fast, and used correctly, it is very effective. The TDI was designed by John Benner of TDI specifically to be used by Police Officers for the purpose of weapon retention, (since the majority of officers shot and killed are done so by their own weapons). It's supposed to be worn on the belt where desired, and while providing positive retention pressure with a hand on your weapon, the blade is then to be deployed against the reaching limbs of the attacker with the other hand. The overwhelming majority of users who train with the knife for just a couple of minutes have the ability to deploy it in under a second (I can deploy my Karambit in the same purpose in less than half that), where a folding knife with clip and easy-opening in the same purpose generally takes between 2 and 4 seconds to deploy.

5.
Quote:
Not to mention that 'whatever" would be a turn off to your FTO.
This kind of confused me.


Thanks for everything so far and I eagerly await advice of any kind! Anyone buy their ammo in bulk online? Know any good stores for this?

~LT
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Old May 19, 2011, 07:55 AM   #10
LordTio3
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Quote:
The test that they don't tell you about is attitude. If you've got a good attitude, you'll do fine. However, in this line of work, you can never, NEVER, lose your temper. A cop is carrying a gun and is representing an agency. That agency has a huge liability with that officer. If, in the Academy, they can make you lose your temper and do something rash, they'll probably weed you out. I would imagine that more recruits are lost each academy session to a bad temper and rash decision-making than either academics or PT.
PawPaw, Thank you very much for this. It's always something I kind of expected, but that no one has ever outright spoken to me about. I'm honestly 10x more excited than nervous about discovering how I'll perform in the academy, but knowing this is another subtle testing possibillity is a real step up. Thank you for making me aware of what to expect.

~LT
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Old May 19, 2011, 09:47 AM   #11
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The folks here couldn't have given any better advice. Best of luck to you.
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Old May 19, 2011, 10:09 AM   #12
LordTio3
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Quote:
I think I'd take the gunfighting academy course AFTER going through police training, first time you got three days in a row off. Give the official trainers a blank slate to work on.
I have to disagree with this as well. Nothing against the fine and experienced officers that will inevitably be training me in firearms tactics in the ILEA, but the fine officers who trained them are going to places like TDI, and Front Sight to train. The instructors at TDI train the likes of SWAT team leaders, Private Security Proffesionals, Federal Agents, and the Westpoint Academy Firearms Instructors on a daily basis; among many many others.

Many recruits in the academy have never even handled a weapon before, requiring a lot of time and effort to bring the entire class up to speed. We get a speed through course on the basics before we're put into actual situations, houses, scenarios, etc... And with a Student:Instructor Ratio of 2:1, I expect a heck of a lot of personal attention to everything I'm doing.

I agree that different departments teach certain ways for certain reasons, and it's best to keep your mouth shut as a recruit. You don't know why they're teaching what they're teaching. Even if it seems pointless, it could have an overarching and perfectly reasonable purpose in the scope of training at that particular department. I just intend to treat my ILEA firearms training EXACTLY like I'm going to treat my ILEA physical training. By going in there in the best shape I can. I'm also not going to try and convince my PT instructors about how "I" properly do a situp. If they tell me to do crunches, I'll shut up and do crunches, and just do situps on my own time.

~LT
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Old May 19, 2011, 10:14 AM   #13
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Quote:
I think I'd take the gunfighting academy course AFTER going through police training, first time you got three days in a row off. Give the official trainers a blank slate to work on.
Since you've been shooting since age 9, I don't think it's going to make much of a difference in your case.

What I hate to see is a neophyte attempt to cram a bunch of gun training in prior to the Academy when they've never shot a gun before. Most folks just develop bad habits by doing this, and it's better if the Instructors in the Academy have a blank, and clean, slate to work on.

Keep your cool, and good luck.

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Old May 20, 2011, 12:43 AM   #14
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I would not worry about gear or what you have but take get in the feild on the ground. School or the Corp. The NG is a idea too as a MP. The app feild is over crowded now and you need a edge to get a job.
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Old May 20, 2011, 01:53 AM   #15
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As a police firearms instructor I would say........

1. Don't give it away that you are proficient with handguns. The instructors will figure that out watching you. Other recruits will treat you like a 'know it all'. keep you firearms history and experience to yourself unless asked.

2. Focus on other areas such as P.T (already mentioned), tactical communication (verbal judo), and scenario based activities.

3. Don't do it!!! Find a better job! One where everyone you deal with doesn't hate you. (I'm just being cynical - If that's what you want then go for it).
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Old May 20, 2011, 07:02 AM   #16
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Quote:
3. Don't do it!!! Find a better job! One where everyone you deal with doesn't hate you. (I'm just being cynical - If that's what you want then go for it).
"The Power of Accurate Observation is called "cynicism" by those that do not possess it."- Albert Einstein

I smile my understanding in response to your plea. I have no illusions about everyone loving me on the job, or even being happy to see an officer for any practical reason. But since I've begun to pursue it, I've experienced a calming satisfaction of feeling like I'm finally begining to answer my calling.

As far as "Tactical Communication", is there any resource in particular that would help with this? I'm fairly proficient and have received tactical training before, but is there anything I should study in particular regarding Law Enforcement Training?

Thanks a ton guys,
~LT
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Old May 20, 2011, 12:00 PM   #17
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Dragoon made a good point. We have a saying that goes: "If you want the public to love you....become a fireman." Actually, plenty of good folks out there love and support us, and though I strive to serve one and all equally, it's those people that I do it for. However, cynical or not, it does have an element of truth to it. Society in general resents authority, and many people have an "us vs. them" mentality where LEOs are concerned. A classic example would be motorists blinking their headlights at one another to warn of law enforcement up ahead. I learned long ago to try not to publicize my LE status. Ugly confrontations on my own time with "clients" who don't care that I'm off the clock led me to this. I stay out of my jurisdiction when off-duty, and I take care to never let my neighbors see me in uniform. To do otherwise would risk them thinking that I'm the neighborhood security guard, and would also invite vandalism. Since I don't live in the town that I serve, I don't drive my patrol car home, which is also good...because having that car in your driveway is an open invitation to constant knocks on the door. People wanting directions, people wanting you to leave your home and come settle a dispute, etc. My feeling is, my time off with my family is exactly that: My time off. Taking the precautions I've mentioned help to safeguard it. Just some further food for thought.
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Old May 20, 2011, 04:39 PM   #18
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I have to add my feelings that you should delay your shooting course until after the academy. I was the lead firearms/officer safety instructor at our academy for 9 years, and we spent a lot of time "unlearning" what folks had been taught elsewhere. It's not that our way was THE way - just that many schools teach things unsuited to law enforcement.

Another issue is 3 days, 600 rounds per day? That is an awful lot of shooting. Figure a couple of hours in the classroom each day, plus breaks, you will be firing for 4-5 hours per day, or around 150 rnds per hour. Here is why I wonder about this class:
1. It suggests there is more shooting and less teaching.
2. Another issue I saw from some schools is the "speed reholstering". Their day was so busy that students were pushed to reholster as fast as possible so they could start the next string. Bad idea, bad tactic.
3. At 600 rounds per day, by the end of day one, your hands will hurt. By lunch on day two, the tape and band aids will go on. How much will you learn when each shot hurts? Unless you commonly shoot hundreds of rounds per day, not much.
4. Shooting that much becomes "polishing the bore". You are not learning, you are just pushing rounds through the gun, which leads to flinching and other bad habits.

You sound like you have the maturity to absorb what is being taught, but the rate of fire seems way too high. We spread our 40 hours of firearms over three weeks, as many short sessions promote a better grasp of fundamentals than marathon shooting sessions.

We preferred to focus on the basics, and expose the students to advanced techniques for practice on their own time. When I take on students now, once they can shoot groups, I show them things they need to practice on their time.

It is a great gift - why not wait until after the academy, when you may qualify for one of their more advanced courses?
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Old May 20, 2011, 04:46 PM   #19
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One thing I neglected to add: If you already know how to shoot (the fundamentals of sight alignment and trigger control), while in the academy focus on that which is hard for you - law, report writing, etc.

There is the famous story from the U.S. Border Patrol Academy. A trainee was #1 in shooting, but flunking Spanish, so the boss called him in.
"Son, if you don't pass this next Spanish test, you are out."
"But Chief, I'm #1 in shooting!"
"Son, we talk to a heck of a lot more people than we shoot!"

Best of luck, I really enjoyed most of my 27years as a LEO.
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Old May 20, 2011, 11:16 PM   #20
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You're going to want to read these:
http://www.policeonebooks.com/the-co...sberg-set.html

Bonus points for anyone who knows where my sig line came from.

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Old May 21, 2011, 12:40 AM   #21
3rdDragoon
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I'm sure if you Google 'verbal judo' or similar you will get plenty of hits. A lot has already been said about 'having the right attitude' - which I believe you have.

A lot of this stuff is subjective - All you need to grasp are the basic concepts. Your academy instructors will be more specific about what format that takes.

And importantly - well done for choosing to be a cop. I hope it all works out for you.

(and don't let the paperwork get you down)
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Old May 21, 2011, 05:24 AM   #22
Single Six
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+1 on what Termn8r said. I've read all three of those books, and they are indeed the equivalent of the LE Bible [in three parts]. I can also strongly recommend "Surviving Street Patrol", as well as "Street Work: The Way To Police Officer Safety And Survival", both by Steve Albrecht. Last I looked, these two titles are still available on www.Amazon.com. Trust me when I say that all 5 of these books are indispensable and should be in every LEO's personal library. I would, however, recommend that you read all of them AFTER both your academy as well as your field training is complete...it's best to crawl before you walk.
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Old May 23, 2011, 09:15 AM   #23
LordTio3
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I appreciate the reading recommendations. I'm no stranger the bookstore. I just finished Milton's "Paradise Lost", and it was unbelievable. I'll definitely look into getting the ones you've listed. And if anyone has any others, I'd love to hear about them.


As far as the incoming advice regarding waiting until after the academy to take these 3 courses at TDI, I can't help but feel that we're missing the point. Tactical Defense Institute is one of the best firearm training institutions in the world. John Benner, the president and owner who is a 30 year police and 25 year SWAT team leader veteran himself, was just on the radio show Trigger Time with Joe Barret talking about the two Secret Service agents who just came in and took the Handgun I-III course that I'm going to take. The caliber of people who come in to take these courses is incredibly varied, but the quality of instruction is tough to beat. By anyone. Anywhere. My uncle was referred to TDI by some Marine veterans at Front Sight in Nevada who said the training they received there was the best training they'd ever had, military or otherwise. And with 1 instructor to ever 2-3 students, I expect to learn a lot.

Now, again, I'm not trying to belittle the fine firearm training I expect to receive at the academy; but can anyone honestly tell me that every instructor I'm going to have there will have training from multiple agencies, have repeatedly taken training themselves several times a year, be unbound by protocol/politics/favoritism/budget/or insurance companies regarding the things they can teach you in order to save your life, and be committed to teaching them to me and 1-2 other people alone?

I don't expect that the quality of instruction in the academy will be higher than at TDI. However, I do expect to learn different things there that TDI won't teach me; like how to operate as a team instead of an individual, how to cover a fellow officer, how/if/when to transfer to/deploy less-than-lethal force, how/when to radio for help, the things I should be looking for/remembering for the purposes of reports/investigations/or further questioning, and all of the other things that a police officer will have to think about and react to regarding a use-of-force scenario that an armed civillian would not.

I don't really see any benefit from waiting until after the academy to pursue this training, especially since the training weekend is a gift that is already booked among spots that are limited (we snagged 2 of the last 5 spots in October as of last weekend). For comparrisson, I have received my Instructors level belt in Hapkido with my main weapons focus in Escrima (2.5ft rattan stick). I also have experience in Escrima/Kali and Modern Arnis. I do not expect to learn anything new when I get training with my baton in the academy. In fact, from what I've seen of their blunt weapons training, it's very low-tech and practical (i.e. what to attack and when); whereas I've been formally trained in attacks, denfenses, about a dozen different stances and grips, footwork, combination flows, disarms, grapples, submissions, and takedowns. All with my Escrima.

That being said, what I expect to learn isn't to do with new techniques. I expect to learn how a police officer acts, reacts, and evaluates in situations which use of a baton is appropriate. The same goes for my handgun. They are both tools, and hopefully 2 that I'll scarcely, if ever, need to employ.

I don't expect to learn a whole lot in the ILEA about how to use my baton or my handgun. I DO expect to learn a whole lot about how to be one officer of a department if/while I have to use them.

~LT
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