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Old 03-17-2005, 05:02 PM   #18
Michael Hackett
Dojo: Kenshinkan Dojo (Aikido of North County) Vista, CA
Location: Oceanside, California
Join Date: Oct 2000
Posts: 1,136
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Re: Another Video Prison Attack.

Jean,

What I meant by that is that officers are expected (by most departments today) to pursue formal education. In order to advance, officers need a BA or higher, particularly out here on the west coast. When you combine that with the formal training in specific subject areas, rotating shifts, a high rate of overtime work, and families, some find it difficult to do much else. The combat arts, so to speak, just aren't that important to law enforcement administrators. While I continue to disagree with that position, it is the reality of policing.

Right now the major trend is to develop technology that allows an officer to subdue a subject without putting hands on him. You've seen the Taser weapons on TV and they are currently developing alternative light sources that disorient a subject and even a spider web that can be fired from a shotgun to capture a suspect. None of those will be all that effective in a bar brawl or domestic violence event however.

In my own experience, the only martial arts available to me was a "Cobra Kai" type karate dojo within a two hour drive of my home. Had there been aikido within a reasonable distance, I would have found a way to train. I got by reasonably well by using my head and staying in good physical shape. Most crooks were done within 15 to 20 seconds and if you were fitter than that, you would ultimately gain control.

The demands of law enforcement are no higher than a lot of other professions - the major difference is that we are always on duty. You shouldn't be more lenient in your views at all. You should expect an officer to arrive where and when you need him and expect him to be capable of doing what's needed. Therein lies the rub; cops have to fight suspects every now and again, but the duties are so wide and varied that they have to be competent in many other fields as well. I've often heard it said that a good cop knows a little bit about almost everything.

Ego plays a big part too. The uniform and equipment sends a message in itself that keeps most events from going physical. Your command presence and appearance will get you by time and time again, and its only when you're sliding across the room on your backside that you think you could have used more training.

A last piece of the puzzle is worker's compensation and the Fair Labor Standards Act. I've seen a number of cases where the officer was injured during his off duty training and received W/C benefits. I've also seen cases where an officer sued for overtime payments for his off duty training because he was doing it to improve his job performance. Those cases have made many law enforcement administrators reluctant to set up programs or even recommend off duty training.

I guess, in summary, don't expect the cop who shows up at your door to be Superman. He or she may be a highly skilled martial artist, or may well be just another human being. If you happen to meet one of them, invite them to visit your dojo - it might be infectious.

Michael
"Leave the gun. Bring the cannoli."
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