This is the first BlueSheepDog Challenge to our readers and I hope it inspires you to go the extra mile to be as prepared as you can be for the ultimate test. These challenges will come out periodically and focus on critical skills necessary for an officer to “win” the battle of the street and go home intact at the end of their shift.
Recently one of my Firearms Instructors challenged our entire department to a daily challenge to improve pistol drawing performance during 2015. That idea has inspired me to implement the same challenge, along with a few others, for the first quarter of 2015 here at BlueSheepDog. Since we’re already halfway through the first quarter I may extend the challenge through second quarter before enhancing the requirements and skill challenges.
This challenge is directly related to an officer’s ability to withdraw and present their handgun in an efficient and timely manner to confront a deadly force threat, or other suspicious circumstances warranting the retrieval of a firearm.
- Perform (10) perfect draws in a row before each shift.
In order for a draw to count, the officer must start from a typical interview position with their hands away from their holstered sidearm. During this first quarter challenge time is not an element, however the officer should not be performing the drill in slow motion. Instead we challenge you to master the draw technique to develop muscle memory. The officer will perform these individual skills to accomplish the most proficient and fast draw possible:
- Properly grasp the sidearm’s grip
- Disengage the safety features of the holster
- Draw the sidearm straight up and out of the holster to avoid any snagging
- Bring the pistol to the center of the body while rotating the barrel up and to the front
- Properly mate the support hand to the strong hand grasp
- Extend the pistol to a shooting position (arms near locked out, sights already aligned)
- This must be accomplished 10 times in a row before the exercise is complete.
Before I go any further I must emphasize that the officer be extremely vigilant in checking, double checking, and possibly triple checking their sidearm to ensure that the weapon is unloaded.
The firearm must be visually and physically inspected to ensure that it is unloaded!
The murder of a police officer in the line of duty is a heinous offense to a civilized society. The BlueSheepDog crew does not want to be seen as a “Monday-morning quarterback” whenever we discuss the death of a brother of sister officer, yet their deaths can often yield incredible training points that we all must refresh ourselves on from time to time.
In this light Challenge #2 will be to analyze at least (1) officer involved shooting video every week. This is not simply watching the video, but taking time to pause the video at critical moments and study the actions of the offender and the reactions of the officer. Find the good responses, and the bad; the good techniques, and those that did not work. The videos do not have to be officers being killed or wounded, just an officer involved shooting.
- Analyze (1) officer involved shooting video per week.
This challenge goes to the heart of one of BlueSheepDogs highest target goals. Challenge yourself and your fellow officers to carry a firearm off-duty 100% of the time. To clarify what we’re hoping for in 100% carry, we would like to see you have a firearm with you whenever you are out in public.
Having said that, we would also like to challenge you to have a firearm readily available whenever you are at home. This doesn’t mean you’re packing around the house, but that if a threat suddenly arrives you are seconds away from having a weapon in your hand, instead of locked up all the way across the house.
- Carry an off-duty firearm 100% of the time.
So far the challenges have been all about honing your critical skills to a fine edge, and ensuring that your mindset always keeps you in the game should a sudden threat appear – on or off-duty. This final challenge goes behind the scenes and focuses on the most important health decision of your life. We want to challenge you to plan a special family event each week. This is completely outside of annual vacations and special family events of that nature.
The possibilities are limitless and don’t necessarily involve a huge operations plan or money expenditure. Simply put, you make the effort to ensure that you are bonding with your family, healing from the scars you’ve received at work, and remembering that there are good people worth going back to work for.
- Plan at least (1) special family event each week!
We cannot emphasize enough the importance of maintaining and building the relationships at home. You must have a strong foundation to stand upon if you plan on successfully enduring a long career in law enforcement, and living a long life afterwards to tell about it!
Possible Special Family Events
- Going out for a special dinner
- Going to the movies
- Calling or visiting your parents (yes, young and old officers need to maintain the line)
- Outdoor activities – playing ball, bicycling, hiking, camping, hunting, etc.
- Reading a book to your children
- Playing board games or cards
- Studying with your children
- Visiting childhood or family special places
- Doing a completely spontaneous activity – like going to an orchard to pick fruit
- Driving through the countryside
- Going to a shooting range together
- Taking a picnic
- And the list goes on!
God Speed SheepDogs!