Use of Force Continuum | Basic Officer Training

competitive marksmanshipWe learn in our Basic Officer Training to quickly assess a situation and appropriately apply The Use of Force Continuum. From our physical presence, to verbalizing commands, to employing soft techniques then hard techniques, utilizing deadly force comes into play as the absolute last resort. For those of us who carry, we hear all too often from the uninformed and the truly innocent that they know we just itch to draw that gun and pull the trigger. What a tank of horse manure. The professional officer recognizes any number of situations and responds accordingly. Noticing my surroundings, I know best when to simply extricate myself and loved ones from a given situation. For example, I walked in a crowded city area with my grown daughter recently. Ahead of us, I noticed a middle aged couple with a man walking not quite with them, but too close for comfort. I further noticed the way this individual pulled back from them. He was not with the middle aged couple. Was he planning a purse snatching? Was he planning an assault? My officer presence mode programmed me to take notice. Soon enough, this individual walked far too closely to my daughter and I. As he leaned a fraction of a degree closer to us, I immediately grasped my daughter’s arm and steered her through the crowd of people quietly commanding her, “We are MOVING, let’s exit stage left.” Firmly, competently, I averted danger. My daughter wanted to know what I saw as the problem. She thought the guy was rather comical. I said, he mumbled like a drunk. He did not wear a shirt and looked strong. One swing and we would both be knocked down. He walked on his toes, trying to hide his three day binge. With shock, my daughter wanted to know how I knew all this. I explained officer presence. First, paying attention to my surroundings saves a lot of troublesome moments. Second, responding quickly and calmly ensures safety. We did not need a gun. I never itch to draw down. More than anything, I think the drunkard itched for his next fix and I was not about to be a part of that!

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"I worked as a Federal Law Enforcement Officer for over 14 years, in a firearms carrying capacity. First assigned to LAX (1994), then to the Los Angeles/ Long Beach Seaport (1997-2007), I took an early retirement from my final duty station of El Paso, TX (2007-2008). Never having handled firearms prior to this job, I give full credit for my initial shooting lessons and safe firearms handling skills to the government. As I began to compete, I gleaned tips and coaching lessons from the best law enforcement instructors across the nation, turning myself into one of the best, too. I was a firearms instructor in Los Angeles and a national level competitor on a formally sponsored team from 1999 through 2003, being sent all over the nation for pistol match competitions. As a result of this gift of an experience, I went on to set five national records in the law enforcement shooting sports. Check in regularly to read about those and other adventures and misadventures!"
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