Developing Smarter, Safer, More Successful Law Enforcement Officers

Posts by Crawford Coates:

Considering the Use of Force

Jun 15, 2018 in Fitness & Health & Law Enforcement Today
By: Crawford Coates

[Publisher's note: The following is an excerpt adapted from Dr. Richard Hough's The Use of Force in Criminal Justice, available now from Routledge. You can learn more and purchase the book here.]   The role of law enforcement officer in a Western society has evolved over the past 200 years. A unique aspect of this role is the ability that society grants to officers to detain fellow citizens even to the point of using physical force. Probation ... Full Article »

Moving Faster Than Thought

Jun 15, 2018 in Defensive Tactics & Driving & Roadway & Fitness & Health & Law Enforcement Today & Leadership & Officer Safety & Survival & Patrol & Training
By: Crawford Coates

[Publisher's Note: A version of this article was originally published by the International Law Enforcement Educators and Trainers Association’s (ILEETA) Journal. Spring Edition 2018 Volume 8, edition 2, pgs. 14 & 15.] It was a very hot afternoon in South Texas. I was conducting reality-based scenarios using force-on-force drills for a class I was facilitating since early in the morning, a class where the audience shared a diverse backgro... Full Article »

Axon’s Accelerate: An Opportunity to Learn

Jun 12, 2018 in Law Enforcement Today & Leadership & Training & Video
By: Crawford Coates

For over two decades, Axon (formerly Taser) has been an industry leader in providing law enforcement with a less lethal option to subdue aggressive subjects. With their ingenuity and advancement into body cameras, Axon continues to build on its success and grow into a company that law enforcement can use for an entire system of technology now and in the future. I recently had the privilege of attending Axon Accelerate 2018, the company’s premie... Full Article »

Major Winters’ Rules of Leadership

Jun 08, 2018 in Fitness & Health & Law Enforcement Today & Leadership & Officer Safety & Survival & Patrol
By: Crawford Coates

If you've heard about the HBO mini-series, “Band of Brothers,” then you've heard about Major Winters. If you haven't watched the miniseries, you’re truly missing out on one of the most critically acclaimed and most beloved pieces of television in recent memory. Its strong fan base has the series shown yearly, both here and overseas, especially around patriotic holidays. It's the story of Easy Company of the 506th Parachute Infantry Regimen... Full Article »

Retirement: When to Pull the Plug

Jun 01, 2018 in Law Enforcement Today & Leadership & Officer Safety & Survival
By: Crawford Coates

Retirement is scary. The thought of leaving your comfort zone and putting yourself in a position to start over is simply terrifying. But when it’s that time, you’ll know. I understand that this may not be as helpful as you wish so I will explain a few steps I went through before my retirement nine years ago. To begin with, I spent 30-plus years on the Chicago Police Department. The vast majority of it was good. At the end I was working days... Full Article »

The Case for Mindfulness in Policing

May 23, 2018 in Defensive Tactics & Fitness & Health & Law Enforcement Today & Leadership & Officer Safety & Survival & Patrol & Training
By: Crawford Coates

With every footstep we carry our inner critic and the notorious noise of unrelenting thinking. This thinking mind can be trained to serve us in valuable ways through attention and awareness skills training, commonly referred to as mindfulness meditation. The necessity for cognitive agility in both field operations and in our administrative demands creates an acute need for training that’s grounded in the best available science and our best in... Full Article »

It’s Not the Critic Who Counts

May 03, 2018 in Law Enforcement Today & Officer Safety & Survival & Patrol & Training & Video
By: Crawford Coates

On April 23, 2018, at approximately 1:30 p.m., a male who shall remain nameless, but presumably fed up with being rejected by women, rented a full sized van and plowed through a crowd of people walking on a sidewalk along one of downtown Toronto's busiest streets, killing ten and seriously injuring over a dozen more. When the vehicle was stopped, the suspect was confronted by Ken Lam, a constable with the Metropolitan Toronto Police Service, in ... Full Article »

Don’t Forget to Breathe

Apr 26, 2018 in Defensive Tactics & Fitness & Health & Law Enforcement Today & Leadership & Officer Safety & Survival & Patrol & Training
By: Crawford Coates

I’ve been a meditator for a little over five years now. I’ve been an editor and publisher working with first responders for more than twice that amount of time. I never saw the two as overlapping in anyway, until recently. Lots of interesting conversations have come up in the last couple of years—with cops and firefighters and EMS personnel, scientific researchers, military operators, athletes—and I’m becoming convinced that mindfulness... Full Article »

Fight Formula

Mar 21, 2018 in Defensive Tactics & Fitness & Health & Law Enforcement Today & Officer Safety & Survival & Patrol
By: Crawford Coates

Size + Speed + Strength + Endurance x Skill x Heart= Fighting Ability What wins a fight? There’s no way to know for sure, but there are factors that can point towards success. When tied together, these factors create a formula to help officers figure out when and where to spend their time preparing for a fight. Fight Factors Size: Size matters. I love martial arts and remember fondly as a kid believing that my karate would enable me to overc... Full Article »

Preventing Mass Murders

Mar 13, 2018 in Law Enforcement Today & Leadership & Officer Safety & Survival & Training
By: Crawford Coates

I was a police officer for 30 years and I have taught Criminal Justice for 16 years. Nothing I can say will help the people affected by the tragedy at Marjory Stoneman-Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., or people involved with previous mass murders. After the shooting in Parkland, I watched a variety of media pundits blame a long list of individuals and/or entities for the deaths of 17 students. Some people personally blamed President Trump,... Full Article »

Armed Teachers: Prepare Now

Mar 13, 2018 in Defensive Tactics & Law Enforcement Today & Leadership & Officer Safety & Survival & Patrol & Training
By: Crawford Coates

The recent Parkland, Fla., school murders have sparked a heated national discussion about school safety, particularly about arming teachers. Law enforcement, teachers, administrators, students and parents—everyone has an opinion on pistol-packing professors. Even President Trump has weighed in on the subject: He’s for it. So has the National of School Resource Officers: Against. It’s a debate that may well go on for a very long time. Righ... Full Article »

Deconstructing Formations: Like an Amoeba

Mar 05, 2018 in Defensive Tactics & Officer Safety & Survival & Patrol & Training
By: Crawford Coates

The ideal tactical formation is like an amoeba: a group of moving organisms possessing the ability to alter its shape, assimilate and adapt to it’s ever changing environment; a single, flexible formation, as opposed to a series of different formations for every new situation. This is doable, trainable, and much easier than you think. An amoeba-type formation is achieved by each member of the formation possessing a thorough understanding of the... Full Article »

Schools & Police: The Need For Presence

Feb 27, 2018 in Law Enforcement Today & Leadership & Patrol & Training
By: Crawford Coates

While the recent school mass shooting in Florida is on the minds of people across the nation, this article is not directly in response to that incident. Rather, I’m discussing the frequent day-to-day aggression that occurs between students in our schools and just one factor that I believe can make an impact on reducing it. Just so you understand where my views are coming from, I’ll share a little about myself. I am currently employed as a sc... Full Article »

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 »