By Jay Martinez

Knowledge-the condition of being aware of something.

My citation this month will embody a razor-sharp Samurai katana wielded by an artisan in his craft and mastership of his personal trade. At the far side of this preface stands the late Chris Farley leaping in the air and splitting his ninja pants. Through my trainer’s lenses, I have experienced deplorable shams of so-called training. To me training can only be considered credible if it complies and accomplishes the following: raises conscientiousness, awareness and illuminates the direction toward an alternate route. Mind you, I stated a different route not necessarily a better one. That different route serves a purpose that proposes clear and present options. Options then become tools in your toolbox. Those tools then become contingencies.

Applicable tools remedy problems. After all, isn’t problem solving the quintessential function and nature of the law enforcement position? The American crime fighter is a problem solver! You are a mechanic in the scope of life. Last time I checked, a mechanic is only as proficient and successful as the tools and knowledge they possess.

Imagine trying to accomplish the modest task of changing your car oil. Realistically, with the proper tools and understanding, I have completed this process in no more than fifteen minutes. Now, you have no proper lift, no drain plug wrench, no oil filter wrench and no drain pan. You have made the significantly easy seemingly impossible. Combat is the art of making the simple seemingly impossible, and that is why we cannot afford to have zero training or shoddy training.

Of course, training must pack information. Now, this is key: That information must be updated and functional. I recently saw several episodes of the “Narco” series, during the introduction there was a late ‘70s scene of an officer shooting a handgun. He was crouched so low he could almost tie his shoe and he possessed a one-handed grip. Sensible in the ‘70s, comical today! Meaning tactics and methods evolve through theory and necessity. Why change? Change costs money, time, and effort. M. Scott Peck wrote in the book “Road Less Traveled,” entropy is the state of disorganization and un-differentiation. Everything in the universe points toward a natural decline. Hot coffee grows cold, cold water turns hot. A brand-new vehicle is worth $5K less as it’s driven off the car lot, cream rises to the top only to disintegrate. We must repel that state of being by constant stimulation and mental progress. Tactics and techniques are figured out! We must never stop evolving and growing.

Back to information: So if information is the basis of advanced awareness, it then must significantly embody real world-real time, one must mirror the other. But, that’s where the separation is currently occurring. In order for our agencies to be failure-proof, a gross embodiment of an attack or active shooter must take place. The speed (known as tempo), confusion (fog of war), low-light scenarios, immediate action (fix the problem), conditioning (mindset, physical, spiritual fitness), medical response (self-buddy aid) must be factored during training. All in all, razor-sharp training must allow officers to correspond to reality. The Farley Ninja approach would be having our officers respond to an illusion. Killers have left data behind, trainers need to know the MO of a killer. Prominent age, gender, education, and background. How else can we fully prepare our agencies?

Also, trainers need to train, not coddle. This includes lessons such as talking an officer through a weapon malfunction as they hold their non-shooting hand in the air. Allowing officers to fire their weapons fully dry (unless otherwise told to do so), and now they abysmally take 10 seconds to make it functional once again. But, equally as important, is to prepare our personnel to confront a live, moving, heavily armed threat. And in too many instances we have not recovered from bringing a knife to a gunfight. Hasn’t the ‘86 Miami FBI shootout slapped us silly already? Weren’t North Hollywood cops huddled around an engine block for 30 minutes, asking themselves, “What now?” Warfighting, in the USMC quick read, spells it out move and shoot! Napoleon, Patton, small unit tactics, Attila the Hun and the Roman Legion have all lived by the concept of movement. Attrition isn’t how we can survive and ultimately win.

Trainers, are you under the impression that the qualification course exists to address components of combat shooting? A qualification course stands at the polar opposite of what a real active shooter or single threat attack will reflect. But, because some officers have never tasted any aspect of combat shooting in their 23 years of service, they may not know the difference. So, start training and stop coddling.

Lately, we have had significant attacks that have taken more of our brothers and sisters. Pittsburgh and California active shooters have spoken volumes to me as a professional nationwide trainer. We must dissect our response to these events, so that we can right the wrongs, and continue to pass on and improve the rights.

Finally, let’s discuss two areas where I believe we can improve drastically. Speed is often over-estimated. Speed needs to be smooth and then, of course, smooth becomes fast. Area two, has your agency received clarity on the strengths of L- formations upon entry and wedge formations upon movement? I’m here to enlighten: Jmartinez@warningorder.net, never stop training, Happy New Year.

Jay Martinez is the founder of Warning Order—a highly specialized law enforcement training company. For more information on EDP training, visit warningorder.net