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Training Is Your Most Valuable Asset
By Kevin E. Bedore , Canadian Federal Correctional Officer
Published: 03/19/2012

Shootrange Every officer likes cool equipment. Innovation and technology is no exception when it comes to creation of the newest, latest and greatest piece of law enforcement equipment. That’s a good thing in that it strives to make us more effective and or safer at our jobs. At a recent conference I attended a term came up for the officers desire to have the best new fancy items. These items were termed “tacticool”. The big question is are they reliable, effective and long lasting?

The most reliable, effective and long lasting thing any officer brings to work is him or herself. People are the most reliable, useful and versatile correctional resource available to us and the public we protect. Are we using our abilities the best that we can to serve in that protective role?

Okay, let’s back up just a second. I would be a liar and a hypocrite if I didn’t admit to having a few extra cool things on my duty belt. I have even on occasion purchased the odd thing that lies in the grey area when it comes to scale of issue. There are some extremely good products for law enforcement officers on the market and that improves all of the time. The point here is this; I would rather have ill equipped but well trained reliable officers at my side any day, than any gimmick presently out there.

Would you use a firearm, handcuffs, OC spray or any other life saving tool when you know it is perhaps faulty or deficient when all hell breaks out? I surely hope not! Why then would you allow yourself to enter the same volatile situation not knowing how well your human performance is going to be?

How can you know for sure how your skills are going to stack up against whatever challenge or threat presents itself at perhaps the most inopportune time? The answer is through experience and or training. The most important thing here to consider is that though a degree of luck may present itself and get an untrained person through a certain experience it is not something that is reliable. Reliability comes in the predictability of regular, repeated training experiences. Though you never know ‘exacts’ of what will take place during an event there are certain ‘carry-overs’ that will be applicable to many similar type situations. The more variety and open minded creative training the better rounded participants will inevitably become through their training and resulting experiences. The eventual result is being better prepared and confident in abilities, where training and tactics, not necessarily just equipment will be tested in sometimes the most unforgiving way.

A couple cautionary notes apply here. Skills learned through training are said to be a perishable commodity. Simply put if you don’t use them or at least practice them – you lose them. Worse yet are those that do the so called mandatory training without making the experience a real and personalized learning experience. These are the officers that just show up for training because they have to. They qualify on their firearms putting the holes in the right places just to get it over with. They fail to think of the much bigger picture of preparation for the big event everybody fears will never happen to them. There are many of these and you can or should fill in those blanks for yourself. They deny themselves of using this comparatively calm controlled training environment to prepare for the dreaded moment of truth which has a bad habit of striking when least expected.

Over time when confidence in all necessary skills is developed to the highest degree possible that is when we ourselves become the most reliable, effective and long lasting tool in the correctional arsenal and not just another “tacticool” piece of baggage on a duty belt.

Editor's note: Corrections.com author, Kevin E. Bedore has 28 years experience in law enforcement, 23 as a Canadian Federal Correctional Officer. He began writing as a form of personal therapy to combat the negative effects that the correctional environment was having on him. He then realized that he had discovered something truly amazing that definitely needed to be shared with other officers facing the same challenges he had.

Other articles by Kevin Bedore


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