While a new instructor at the Police Academy, I was beyond excited to be in this new roll. I was excited about the ability to impact officers lives and the lives of the ones we are sworn to protect. I was going to provide the best firearms training I could, no matter the cost. After a short time of learning the lay of the land, I jumped in with both feet. Not at all paying attention to the toes of others I may be stepping on. (Blog for another time.)
What I quickly realized was the instructors from various defensive disciplines/tactical areas were teaching things totally different. The firearms team was teaching in a different way than the other instructors. Even more, the way we taught handgun, was not the same as rifle. Shotgun was nothing like the others and sub-gun was altogether different, too. Once the new recruits left firearms they moved to officer survival and did all the contact and cover stuff and more. But again this was different, too.
How is the young officer going to remember how to stand if at every stage of their use-of-force its different?
Fast forward a number of years and I am running my own show as a teacher, not as an instructor. I clearly understand the need for things to be tactically sound and court defensible. Techniques need to work during the day and at night. Speed and fatigue will break a technique. We need to safely apply that pressure in training to ensure what we are giving the rank and file is what works in the field. We need to run force-on-force to find the truth and pull the lessons from the fight. We need the force-on-force to be clear cut, short and realistic scenarios for the officers to improve, not to re-enforce negative habits. If the scenarios are short and well put together we can take multiple runs at it. This will not only give the trainees a good understanding of what to do to get better, but it will also help with the educational part as well.
Today when an organization, agency, department or even the solo officer looks at training, it needs to be with eyes wide open. We need to provide congruent training that supports all we do. Here at the NMLEA from our entry level programs to our most advanced they fill that requirement.
Contact me today to learn more about how your training, and firearms training specifically, can ensure that we are preparing our officers correctly... especially in the maritime domain. (Click here to send Cruz a note or to find out more.)
Gregory “Cruz” Grutter is an experienced law enforcement officer, 100% Disabled Veteran, Military Wounded Warrior and Combat Veteran nominated for the Silver Star for Combat Valor, Awarded Bronze Star with Valor and Purple Heart Medal for an operation while assigned to the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA), along with other prestigious awards.
A highly experienced competitive shooter, master firearms and tactics teacher and lifelong student of the tactical/shooting arts, “Cruz” was the Chief Firearms Instructor at the prestigious Smith & Wesson Academy. He was also a founding member of the Department of Homeland Security/Federal Air Marshal firearms program (Boston Office) in the immediate aftermath of 9/11. He was medically retired in 2014 from the Federal Air Marshals due to his combat injuries.