Why Are Police and Security Officers Resistant to Defensive Tactics?

When I sat down to write this article I wondered to myself why it is that Police and Security Officers will spend every free minute on the firearms range, but except for a few, will do everything they can to avoid any Defensive Tactics training they can? I know that I am one of the few, because of my Defensive Tactics and Martial Arts background, but I contend that Defensive Tactics is at least as important as firearms training if not more.

Now don’t get me wrong, I love to shoot! There is nothing more enjoyable than a day throwing lead down range. I understand that Officers have a special relationship with their weapons, but when you get right down to it it’s just a tool. I also realize that Movies and television romanticize the shootouts, but we all know in reality that there is no dramatic background music, and the end results are nothing like the movies depict. It more than not is a traumatic incident that the Officer will relive for many years to come. The fact is that few Officers will ever discharge their firearm on duty their entire career, but will spend up to 75% of their training time on the firearms range. It is true that if an Officer is forced to pull his firearm it is a good idea to be proficient in its use, but in contrast to other skills used in the course of his career firearms are on the lowest end of the used skills.

Defensive Tactics skills I contend are used several times a day. Officers come into contact with individuals everyday, and are forced to come into physical contact with individuals almost daily. Defensive Tactics incorporates distancing, position, control techniques, restraining, and defense against unarmed attacks, and attacks with weapons (knife, gun and blunt objects). These skills are used daily by almost any Police or Security Officer.

An Officer may initially deploy their firearm to gain an advantage on a suspicious person, but will have to place his/her hands on the suspect to handcuff or otherwise escort from the area. This is the most dangerous time for any Officer. A suspect can decide at anytime to fight, and at this range a firearm is of no use, even if there is another Officer holding his weapon on the Suspect. It is the Officer in contact who is in immediate danger and will draw from his Defensive Tactics training.

Defensive Tactics also comes into play when an Officer is attacked by surprise and has no time to draw his firearm. In fact, in this situation it could be a fatal mistake since the attacker may have a weapon of their own. Time wasted trying to draw his/her weapon instead of controlling the attack can mean unnecessary injury or death to the Officer. Also obtaining skills to disarm an attacker wielding a weapon is something every Officer should learn and practice regularly.

When it comes right down to it, all any of us want is for our protectors to go home safe at the end of the day. Yes firearms are a part of that, but so are the numerous skills taught in Defensive Tactics training. So keep shooting, but just don’t forget the importance of Defensive Tactics, even if it doesn’t seem as fun at times.


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