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Old 01-29-2008, 01:08 PM   #95
Dan Rubin
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Dojo: Boulder Aikikai
Location: Denver, Colorado
Join Date: Feb 2002
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Re: Is Aikido effective for police?

David

For the past week I have found myself coming back again and again to your post in this thread about police officers who don't train. Having read many of your other posts on AikiWeb, I am surprised and disappointed by that one.

You call those officers "idiots" and "lazy-ass guys," apparently because they do not share your priorities. I understand your frustration, and I understand why instructors can fall into the trap of thinking that the subject they teach is all-important. But I hope you realize that that lazy-ass-guy-that-never-trains may spend every day off crawling around in his garage re-building an old Chevy, or working several off-duty jobs, or doing a myriad of things that a lazy person couldn't do.

The district attorney can't understand why that officer doesn't spend more time studying the criminal code, or studying grammar to improve his reports and statements. The immigration lawyer can't understand why that officer doesn't spend her free time learning to speak Spanish. The commander in internal affairs wishes that the officer spent more time studying the department's procedure manual. The commander at the pistol range doesn't understand why officers don't spend their off-duty time polishing their shooting skills. The commander of the fugitive unit thinks that officers should spend their spare time studying mug shots and wanted posters. At the same time, the officer is attending college to improve his or her opportunities for advancement.

Meanwhile, the police academy is a battleground for groups and individuals competing for time in the curriculum to convince recruits that this or that subject is more important than any other. A look at in-service courses reveals an incredible variety of subjects that are important for police officers to know.

If you look at stories about officers hailed as heroes, you'll find that they rushed into a burning building to save someone, or solved a horrendous crime through smart investigation, or helped a teenager improve his grades. You won't find many officers hailed for their arrest and control skills.

Sure, there are lazy cops, and, of course, arrest and control skills are vitally important. But I suspect that the officers who train regularly with you do so because they enjoy the training, not because they fear getting hurt in an altercation. In other words, your frustration is not with idiocy or laziness, it's with lack of motivation. Who must motivate officers to train? It's the chief of police, that's who. The same chief who, as a young patrol officer, might have agreed with you. The same chief who now, after spending all day listening to demands from the public and city council and the mayor and the union, has not heard any of them demand more time for defensive tactics training. Yes, the chief hears complaints of excessive force, but those complaints are not about lack of skill; every day arrests are made by unskilled officers, without excessive force.

Your frustration is borne by defensive tactics trainers everywhere, many of whom do not share your ability to train only the motivated. You should make your arguments to whomever will listen. Whenever there's a local issue about excessive force or an officer injured during an arrest, you should make a case for an increase in mandatory arrest and control training, showing how the excessive force or injury -- and the resultant lawsuit or sick time -- could have been avoided by a skilled officer. Do you feel frustrated now? Wait until you've gone hoarse trying to get anyone to listen to that! Of course, your current motivated students will agree with you, but you'll be amazed at how their perspective changes as they rise through the ranks.

I admire you for what you're doing for officers who want to train. But I wish you wouldn't vent your frustration with disparaging remarks about officers who are motivated to improve their lives and careers in other ways.

Dan

Last edited by Dan Rubin : 01-29-2008 at 01:10 PM.
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