Ken Witt: New tactical methodologies should be sought out and evaluated, even if they only serve to validate existing doctrine.
Any tactical training must begin with an accredited set of standards for training and performance
In the United States, as well as around much of the globe, law enforcement will continue to face many of the same issues that have challenged it throughout the previous decade: reducing part one crimes against person and property, active shooters, domestic and foreign terrorist threats, hate crimes, human trafficking, crowd management, training, staffing, budgets, and public scrutiny.
Each law enforcement agency’s approach to these critical issues must be reassessed through historical experience, data, and professional insight.
This approach must also be outward looking and include the experiences of outside agencies and well-regarded public safety think tanks. This provides the opportunity to either validate existing tactics, techniques and procedures or evaluate new methodologies.
Yet, the fact remains that the deployment of tactical units carries with it one of the greatest liability concerns – in both human and monetary terms – facing any agency. For this reason, agencies must adequately prepare their tactical teams for success. Additionally, this commitment to tactical preparedness must be extended to active shooter training for all field officers.
The absence of a national standard for tactical units in the USA
Any tactical training must begin with an accredited set of standards for training and performance.
The absence in this country of a national standard for tactical units means agencies should look to state governments such as California’s Commission on Police Officer Standards and Training for guidance.
Credible organizations such as the National Tactical Officers Association also provide vetted guidelines for tactical training and policies.
It is these standards that identify the core competencies which drive individual and team training.
It is essential that team training is entrusted to a vetted cadre of instructors based on their education, training, and experience not rank or time on the team. Rank and tenure do not always equate to the aforementioned criteria.
The arbiter of tactical success
Equally important is the issue of tactical leadership training.
This is another area where rank and tenure are not a guarantee that a leader is prepared to efficiently plan and execute a tactical operation, let alone for the rigors of critical decision making in a dynamic high-stress environment.
Finally, new tactical methodologies should be sought out and evaluated, even if they only serve to validate existing doctrine.
Otherwise the team’s training will become inbred and lose its effective edge.
The arbiter of tactical success is regular, meaningful, and realistic training.
This article was originally published in GTI Magazine May 2020.
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Article Photos by Dave Young