This is a very difficult blog to write as the ramifications have the potential to be severe. It seems that we are creating the perfect storm for our citizens, our officers, and our society to be plagued with turmoil.
Officers are placed in high stress, fast-paced, and high-stakes situations on a regular basis. Officers are expected to make split-second, life and death decisions with minimal training. Training requirements vary from state to state. To put things in perspective, high school basketball players get more training hours in per year than a police officer does. And what a police officer has on the line relative to what a basketball player has on the line cannot be compared. A police officer is not playing for points on a scoreboard. The subject’s life, the officer’s safety, and the very fabric of our society are all in jeopardy.
Great! If training is that important, let’s get officers training on a regular basis. Well, it’s not that straightforward. From an administrative perspective, we need to find funds in the budget to pay for the training, pay for the officer to attend said training, pay for another officer to backfill their position on the road, and worry about the injury potential during training. If an officer is injured during training command will have to contend with workmen’s compensation for six months, as well as pay overtime for another officer to backfill their position on the road.
Most will think, well, how can you put a price on human life? Doesn’t the department want to have their officers safe? Aren’t departments worried about liability?
Well, there are a number of things that factor in. First, the “it will never happen here” mentality, or “we’ll deal with it as it comes.” And the saddest of all is, it makes more “fiscal sense” to pay the liability insurance companies’ deductible, which will likely be paid for by the municipality and not the department, in a wrongful death case than it is to invest in the training.
That is why it is vital that departments are adequately funded for training. Training budgets are nowhere near where they need to be to ensure that our officers have the training that is required for them to be calm, confident, and competent during a use of force incident. We need to realize that there’s more at stake than an unbalanced budget. We will continue to see a rise in officer injuries or deaths as well as civilian injuries and deaths unless we change The status quo in “it’s just how things are done“ mentality.
Sadly, the change will not happen, or will likely be too slow to happen, if mandates are not made. Until trainings are a requirement, supported, and funded properly we will continue to set up our officers for failure, increase the chances of subject/suspect injury or death, and risk increasing the divide between law enforcement and their communities in our nation.
About the author:
Amir Khillah is a retired professional fighter, holds a Master ' s degree in Human Performance, a Bachelor ' s degree in Exercise Physiology/kinesiology, a Police Academy Subject Control Instructor, a police officer, and the founder of Centurion Moderns Subject Control. For more information about officer Khillah or Centurion Modern Subject Control, please visit www.CenturionMSC.com