Developing Smarter, Safer, More Successful Law Enforcement Officers

Posts by Crawford Coates:

Picking a Combatives School

Feb 13, 2018 in Defensive Tactics & Fitness & Health & Law Enforcement Today & Officer Safety & Survival
By: Crawford Coates

“I want to get better in a fight. Where do you think I should train?” At least one fellow officer asks me some variation of that question every week. I am flattered that they ask and happy that they are looking to train. Usually it’s from a recruit or newer officer, and when that happens, my first thought is always, “That is exactly where your mind needs to be right now.” Sometimes a veteran officer approaches me, and I realize that th... Full Article »

Our Gooey Blue Centers

Feb 06, 2018 in Fitness & Health & Law Enforcement Today & Officer Safety & Survival & Training
By: Crawford Coates

I recently read an article on Calibre Press about a retiring Lieutenant’s hero: his wife. I find myself in a similar position. For my part, if there were ever a choice to make between my wife and my career, my career would take a distant second. She inspires me, keeps me human. For her I write this column. Aside from my wife, there are many people in my life who do this. I owe them all a debt of gratitude. To all of my friends and family who... Full Article »

Police Need Leaders, Regardless of Rank

Jan 25, 2018 in Law Enforcement Today & Leadership & Officer Safety & Survival
By: Crawford Coates

Vince Lombardi once said, “Leaders are made, not born. They are made by hard effort, which is the price all of must pay to achieve any goal this worthwhile.” But what exactly did he mean? Well, it’s up for interpretation by each of us to some degree. Essentially, I think, he’s saying that anyone can be a leader, but it won’t be easy. Leadership is something that builds up inside of us. When push comes to shove, the great stand tall whi... Full Article »

A More Reasonable Expectation

Jan 19, 2018 in Law Enforcement Today
By: Crawford Coates

“And I would say, ‘Fuck you, police officer!’ I’m sick of you. Screw you. You’ve had your chance! You’ve had your chance to police my community without murdering us and you have failed for 300 years. Enough!’ That’s what I would say. More people might get hurt. I’m willing to risk that.” That quote comes from Elie Mystal, a Harvard-trained lawyer and legal editor for WNYC’s More Perfect podcast. Haven’t heard of More Pe... Full Article »

Focus, Awareness, & Perspective

Jan 04, 2018 in Driving & Roadway & Law Enforcement Today & Leadership & Training
By: Crawford Coates

"You have the attention span of a gnat." Have you ever known someone like this, or been accused of this yourself? I imagine that some people have difficulty concentrating for long periods of time due to medical issues or their general state of mind. But could it also be attributed to the nature of a person's environment, or their job? Could it be that, given certain situations, having the attention span of a gnat is actually a good thing? Focu... Full Article »

Mental Health Triage, Pt. 2

Jan 04, 2018 in Fitness & Health & Law Enforcement Today & Officer Safety & Survival
By: Crawford Coates

[Publisher's Note: This is the second of a two-part series. Click here for Part 1: Tools for LEOs.] The police personality is mythical at best. At the root of much of the perception of this personality are fear and mistrust. When officers find themselves in need of mental health services, they are afraid they will be ostracized or labeled as weak or a “head case.” To avoid these labels, officers hide behind the persona of the police pers... Full Article »

Mental Health Triage: Tools for LEOs, Pt. 1

Dec 21, 2017 in Fitness & Health & Law Enforcement Today & Leadership & Officer Safety & Survival & Patrol
By: Crawford Coates

In the world of law enforcement, the most noted form of trauma is an officer-involved shooting. But from a psychological standpoint that may not necessarily be the case. So-called normal or routine calls, over time—very often, in my experience—weigh heavily on officers and can lead to trauma. That’s the bad news. The good news is that it seems the profession finally recognizes that exposure to major traumatic events requires some form of p... Full Article »

Quality Policing: What Is It?

Nov 29, 2017 in Law Enforcement Today & Patrol & Training
By: Crawford Coates

[Publisher's Note: Great podcasts abound, but what about one that focuses on police work from a police perspective? Enter Quality Policing with Nick Selby and Peter Moskos. Following is a recent conversation I had with Selby about the project.]  CC: What made you want to do this?   N.S.: Peter and I have been having in-depth conversations about policing for some time, and it occurred to us over this past summer that we were tackling th... Full Article »

My Apologies …

Nov 21, 2017 in Driving & Roadway & Law Enforcement Today & Leadership & Patrol & Training
By: Crawford Coates

This is an apology to the person who thinks I snubbed him the other night. It will, I hope, serve two purposes. It will make me feel better because I have been thinking about it for a few days and it has really bothered me. It will also serve as an explanation to many in the community for what may be perceived as a "slight" to them by officers of the law. We may seem hurried, uninterested, bothered or even fearful at times. While all of these pe... Full Article »

Watching Your 12

Nov 14, 2017 in Fitness & Health & Leadership & Officer Safety & Survival
By: Crawford Coates

You’re a cop. What does this mean? It means you do what’s best in the interest of public safety. You control, regulate, and keep order for a living. What’s often forgotten? Controlling, regulating, and keeping yourself in order. Cops often say to each other, “Watch your 6!” That is, you must keep aware of what’s happening behind you and your partners, where bad guys lurk. But what about watching your 12? Who’s making sure you ar... Full Article »

Fly High or Drop It By

Nov 08, 2017 in Law Enforcement Today & Patrol & Training
By: Crawford Coates

The investigation of drug delivery by mail or parcel service is a challenge for law enforcement, making it attractive to those who want to send various types of contraband rather than deliver it personally. To prevent this, law enforcement must work with the carrier, which might come across signs of illicit items or drugs in the course of their work, so that investigators can work to identify the sender and receiver, as well as make assessments a... Full Article »

OP-ED: A Catastrophic Failure of Security [RETRACTED]

Oct 16, 2017 in Law Enforcement Today
By: Crawford Coates

[Update: I have decided to pull this article down after hearing from several readers. If you wish to read it, a version of it was first published at Security Magazine, which you can read here. Calibre Press thrives on pushing the conversation forward, and, often, this involves publishing various voices and opinions. However, there is a limit to what is collegial and constructive and what is inappropriate. I don't want to cross over into the latte... Full Article »

The Face of Evil

Oct 05, 2017 in Law Enforcement Today & Officer Safety & Survival & Patrol & Training
By: Crawford Coates

I read Mr. Tony Blauer’s 15 August 2017 article titled “Lessons from a Vicious Ambush.” As usual, Mr. Blauer was spot on. But even more importantly, I learned something new that gave me reason to pause and reassess my own methods of dealing with such situations. I believe I’ve always been pretty tactically sound with the various undercover, “jump-out” type units I worked in throughout my career. But resting on one’s laurels is a r... Full Article »

Las Vegas Active Shooter: Timeline & Video

Oct 04, 2017 in Law Enforcement Today & Officer Safety & Survival & Training
By: Crawford Coates

[Update: The Los Angeles Times reported on Oct. 10 that the security guard at the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino was shot six minutes prior to the gunman opening fire on the crowd below. They write: "Police have dramatically changed their account of how the Las Vegas massacre began on Oct. 1, revealing Monday that the gunman shot a hotel security guard six minutes before opening fire on a country music concert — raising new questions about why ... Full Article »

The Alarming Consequences of Police Working Overtime

Oct 02, 2017 in Fitness & Health & Leadership & Training
By: Crawford Coates

[Publisher's Note: We've been writing a lot lately about police fatigue and the importance of non-punitive close-calls reporting. Following is an excellent article from on this topic, reprinted below with permission.]  Fatigue is bad for any work environment. But for police, the stakes are much higher. Officers have to respond to late-night calls, make split-second decisions and de-escalate tense situations -- sometimes in the mid... Full Article »

REVIEW: A Weapon-Mounted Camera System that Works

Sep 26, 2017 in Defensive Tactics & Law Enforcement Today
By: Crawford Coates

Body- and dashcams have been around for quite a few years now. Both have been controversial for almost as long.  Most of the controversy seems to stem from exactly when the cameras were--or weren’t--turned on.  T.V. news programs always seem to focus on those incidents for which the cameras weren’t started until after the force-related incident ended. Many times, dashcams don’t capture the action since they were pointed away from the s... Full Article »

What Nearly Happened

Sep 22, 2017 in Law Enforcement Today & Leadership & Officer Safety & Survival & Training
By: Crawford Coates

I recently asked a very knowledgeable university-level researcher who studies police and, specifically, the effects of fatigue on officer performance a simple question: “Can you name a case in which officer fatigue was identified as contributing to a bad outcome?” He never got back to me. So I asked around and everyone basically said the same thing: Identifying fatigue as a contributor in a less-than-optimal outcome would open the agency ... Full Article »

Imagine This

Aug 31, 2017 in Law Enforcement Today & Leadership
By: Crawford Coates

I really wrestled with writing this because I did not want this piece to appear disingenuous, as if I was searching for professional sympathy or was trying to engage in the woe-is-us. I wrestled with the disconnect between what law enforcement professionals really deal with and what our communities think we deal with. I did not want my ideas of that disconnect to serve as a further wedge between that supportive and valued community and those... Full Article »

Playing with Emotion

Aug 29, 2017 in Law Enforcement Today & Leadership & Officer Safety & Survival & Training
By: Crawford Coates

I remember almost every football coach I’ve ever had telling me to, “Get mad! Get angry!” at one point or another. It was a good life lesson at the time. It taught me how to use that anger to push passed the point of what I thought I could do. It taught me how to dig into the hidden reserves that we all possess but few of us ever learn to tap into, the much talked about 40% rule. Today I am no longer a football player, or a boxer, or wres... Full Article »

Auditory Exclusion is Real

Aug 24, 2017 in Law Enforcement Today & Leadership & Training
By: Crawford Coates

Last week I wrote a piece that elicited an overwhelming response from this readership. And the conclusion: Auditory exclusion most certainly does exist. And not just for cops. I heard from firefighters, EMTs, hunters, and researchers, and every one of them in the affirmative. Thank you for taking the time to share your thoughts. Here’s a representative email I received from Michael G.: Hello, I have been in law enforcement for 10 yea... Full Article »