Training and unnecessary force

Pistolcraft would like to thank Bob Davis for the opportunity to begin a discussion on the concepts of training as it effects the use of force by police. His podcast featuring our founder Steve Rogers can be found here :
He can also be found on Facebook at:

Over the years working both in the private security field, as well as as a legal consultant / expert witness we learned how little training law enforcement and private security actually receive. Desiring to set the bar higher, our founder has obtained instructor certifications in two of the most respected systems for law enforcement control and combatives. Our goal being to teach not only our own officers for our sister company R. Steven Rogers Protective Services to a much higher standard, but to enhance the training available to outside agencies both public and private.

When force is used there is generally a knee-jerk reaction by the public and the media, and very little is done to explore the realities of how such situations occur and play out. A number of recent shootings by law enforcement have resulted in significant anger over the lack of prosecution of the officer, however in many cases the officer acted within the law and policy. What, in our opinion, was lacking from the dialogue was an analysis of the situation with a few key questions included. Why did the situation result in deadly force? Would an officer with more training in de-escalation, combatives, and control have been able to cause a different outcome? In most of the cases we review, we find the answer is yes.

So the problem for us is that many of these outcomes were completely avoidable, and most folks seem to instinctively grasp that, and so they protest, riot, and call for the officer’s head on a platter. And while the officer certainly needs to be accountable legally and ethically for their actions, there is no demand for the same when it comes to the Police Chief, Mayor, head trainer, or other responsible parties. The officer in many cases becomes a scapegoat so the people that actually created the environment that caused or allowed the situation to occur go almost entirely unnoticed, where often the officer did the best they could with the skills available.

While this is not the only component involved in the problems we have with modern law enforcement, we believe it is a very significant issue. I do not have a single friend in law enforcement that believes their skills are truly adequate. When the average training for cops in Defensive Tactics is somewhere around 4 hours a year and most only qualify with their firearm once a year, can you really expect anything other than the problems we are facing?

The private sector has its own issues as well. Recently an off-duty training manager for a large private security firm used pepper spray on a vulnerable adult with autism for eating a free cookie at a grocery store. Clearly the public and private systems need a sea change when it comes to how we approach the very root concepts of the role and its expectations.

While there are no easy fixes to the problems we face, we are doing everything we are able through training and education to provide comprehensive risk management solutions through our companies. We teach Defensive Tactics, Firearms, and a variety of other subjects to private security, law enforcement, emergency medical, fire, and civilians in many fields. Our hope with this blog post is to start a conversation that will get more and more people looking at more than just the field officer and instead focus their attention on some of the root causes that need to be addressed to begin to reverse decades of dangerous policy.