’s Best of 2015

A small selection the articles I found most memorable & inspiring this year

By Crawford Coates  |   Dec 30, 2015
These article had bite and won't let go. Photo Courtesy Georgetown (Texas) PD. relaunched on January 22 of this year and by the end of February we saw approximately 40% of American law enforcement visit our site (more than 300,000 unique visitors out of about 800,000 American cops). For that success—for your support—I am truly grateful.

Coming up with a “best of” is a challenge because  I don’t publish anything we don’t think is great. Still, some pieces really stick with you. Following are some of my personal favorite columns for the year, in no particular order.

The Annual Wellness Check, by Jeff Shannon

This article is a recent one but it’s so important to our business and yet so seldom discussed. Emotional scarring is an occupational hazard in this line of work. Just like you take care of your body to prepare for the job (you do, don’t you?), you need to take care of your mind. Shannon is a cop and a therapist, and he’s worth reading and heeding.

Are We Warriors? By H.K. Slade

The whole warrior vs. guardian debate is tired and stupid. The challenge of police work is the ability to transition to responses appropriate for the situation—one moment you’re comforting a victim and the next your being punched in the nose. How do you maintain balance? It ain’t easy. Balance is the definition of the warrior, says Slade, and he makes a very compelling case.

Career Longevity Through Novelty, by Madeline Horner

We’ve all met a cop who should have moved on years ago: bitter, cynical, lazy … This piece presents a solution to burnout. Take a promotion or lateral assignment. Get a degree. Take a fresh look at an old problem. Move to another department. Whatever you do, don’t get complacent!Print

Traffic Stop Survival, by Scott Hughes

This piece was not only incredibly researched and written, it was also one of our most popular articles. Based on Hughes’ first-hand knowledge of the Dave Leighty traffic incident, he lays out some of the concerns every officer should have when approaching a vehicle at a traffic stop.

Final Tour, by Dale Stockton

To be fair, this is a monthly series and every month is directly relevant and worthy of attention. Stockton founded the Below 100 initiative and it is in that risk-management mode that he reviews LODDs for the month and trends over time. It is a respectful memorializing of those who have died doing this job.

Dear Chief/Sheriff, by Elijah Woodward

Timing is everything, and this one came in just in time for IACP: “Dear Chief/Sheriff, You’re going to get fired …” Love that! But the point is critically important and far too often ignored by law enforcement. If you use the web at work—we all do—you need to take the time to protect yourself, your officers and your community from the risks inherent. Some agency will be breached this year, and that chief of sheriff will probably resign as a result. Woodward not only makes this case, he proposes simple and effective steps we can all be taking to mitigate that risk.

The Danger of Ground Fights, by Dave Grossi

Grossi has been associated with Calibre Press for a decades and we’re so glad to have him back. This article is a case in point. It was widely read, caused a stir, and yet it’s very well argued and leaves room for alternative opinions. You can’t do DT in a column, but you can make people think about DT critically and that’s what Grossi did here.

The 4 a.m. Traffic Stop, by Nick Selby

Selby runs down what’s going through an officer’s mind during an early morning traffic stop in a very compelling and enlightening way. Media accounts of “routine traffic stops” are upended in his telling.

The Three Dominoes of Field Training, by Graham Tinius and Daniel Greene

Stress them, give them confidence, and evaluate their performance—repeat! Tinius and Greene make a compelling case for a model of FTO training that can speak to the challenges of the real world.

Stop Working: Are We There? By Jim Glennon

This one gets bonus points for prescience. First of all, it was based on an article Glennon wrote more than a year previously about the dangers of vilifying cops and how that would affect morale and public safety. Second, two days after its publication an op-ed in the Washington Post by a Manhattan Institute scholar would give name to it—the “Ferguson Effect”—a name and a concept that stuck. This name is problematic—because the problems clearly preceded the killing of Michael Brown, as Glennon demonstrated—but the concept has caught the attention of the public and the White House. You heard it here first, folks!

Multimedia Projects

In addition to these great articles we also produced various media throughout 2015. Here are my highlights.


Essential Fitness for Law Enforcement, with Greg Amundson

Amundson is the liaison to law enforcement for CrossFit. He’s also one fit dude who cares a lot about cops. He recognizes that physical fitness is essential to everything a cop does and he recognizes that we’re all at different places in our fitness. There’s always room for improvement. It’s not about bulking up, it’s about getting limber, fast, agile, strong, and poised for the job. If you’ve missed this video series check it out now!


A draw!

Unarmed Doesn’t Not Mean Not Deadly, by Nick Selby and Dale Stockton

Selby helped to create the Police Killings in Context (PKIC) database and in this discussion with Below 100 founder Dale Stockton, he reviews the findings. Very interesting.

Training Officers to Spot Deception and Pre-Attack Cues, by Jim Glennon

Fascinating topic and well presented. Not only that, but it was wildly popular with the audience. (Expect a follow-up webcast in early 2016.)


Defensive Tactics, with Tony Blauer

Blauer is a legend and his insights and style are particularly suited to this format. They are fun, fast, and great to listen to at the gym or on a run. Food for thought. Expect more in 2016.


Thank you for your support and let me know if there’s anything we can be doing better: Crawford [at] Beyond that, have a wonderful New Year and take care!

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Crawford Coates

Crawford Coates

Crawford Coates is the author of Mindful Responder: The First Responder's Field Guide to Improved Resilience, Fulfillment, Presence, & Fitness--On & Off the Job and the publisher at Calibre Press.
Crawford Coates

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