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Officer Safety and Situational Awareness
Transcript of Officer Safety and Situational Awareness
Images from Shutterstock.com "360 Mindset" This is military and law enforcement term that is used to remind us the world is not linear. That is, it does not just go on in front, to the sides and behind us. Rather, our world is spherical, and we need to also be aware of what is going on above us and in some cases below too. Officer Safety +
Situational Awareness VA Police
Sgt. Terry Trimm It is a human experience defined as:
Knowing and understanding what is happening around you, predicting how it will change with time and being unified with the dynamics of your environment. What is Situational Awareness? Example of Situational Awareness A young man who chooses to walk the long way around the block to get to his car to avoid a group of young males is not only
observant of a situation that might pose a threat, but is also obeying his instincts and employing a sound
“rather be safe than sorry” strategy. People who are relaxed yet aware of their surroundings and practicing good situational awareness are described to be in “Condition Yellow”. Apathy, complacency and denial are the three primary barriers to good situational awareness. Criminals read our body language and are very astute at discerning those of us in Condition Yellow vs. Condition White, as they move through their victim selection process. Here are some examples....
How would you rate yourself off and on Duty?...
Pull out your wallets... Your now getting held at gun point. The demand for your wallet has been made. How do you think the robber will react to your wallet with a badge in it. CHP Officer ambushed
along the highway while
catching up on paperwork. Aftermath... Levels of Awareness
-Black Have you sat in the patrol car and
filled out tickets or text on cell
phone at night in the parking lots? White-
Your oblivious to what is going on around
because you are preoccupied with distractions,
tired, daydreaming, or assuming there is no
possibility for trouble and thus, no cause for
You are at a state of alarm. This is when you know
there is trouble, and you are concentrating on
evaluating if further and resolving it. Red-
What looks wrong is wrong!
Instant reaction is mandatory and you must
focus on the threat and act. Black-
This happens when you panic.
You may experience misdirected frenzy
or paralysis. You can operate in condition "orange" and "red" for brief periods of time. Some good examples of situational
awareness while off duty.
What will you do if your a witness
or a victim of the following?
Have you ever experience someone
with road rage? Here are some other
-sleepy on duty
-missing danger signs
-taking a bad position
-failure to watch subject's hand
-relaxing too soon
Sometimes you can be aware of your situation and do all the right actions. Your mind set will be the only asset you have to
survive your encounter. He survived the gun shot to the neck
and returned to duty sometime later.
Understanding the survival triangle.
-Tactical Conditioning In physical confrontations, the average police officer is able to exert maximum effort for only 20 to 45 seconds. After that, the strength level drops by as much as 50% below normal. "What if..." game
Rehearsing a wide variety of scenories in your mind will help you develop the reflexive instinct you need to react quickly under pressure to a variety of sudden threats. Summary:
Officers need to be aware of their environment on and off duty. The law enforcement community has been rocked by incidents effecting their personal lives too include their family members. Please have situational awareness to mitigate your risk on the job and during your time off work. QUESTIONS References:
-LE.T.C. Training Unit 2, Officer Safety and Awareness
-Remsburg, Charles. Tactical Edge. Northbrook, IL: Calibre Press, Inc., 1980
-San Diego News (2012, May 23). CAUGHT ON TAPE: Officer Shot In The Head, El Cajon Police Shootout [Video file]. Retrieved from Youtube website:
-(2011, July 11). Off-Duty Officer Thwarts Bank Robbery Attempt [Video file]. Retrieved from Youtube website:
-(2012, August 21). Road Rage Guy vs Off Duty Cop [Video file]. Retrieved from Youtube website: