ITTA's Expert Commentary on Advanced Tactical Training & Education
Shift Training: Edged Weapon Incidents
Here are four recent edged weapon incidents where the responding officers were forced to deploy deadly force. It happens in the blink of an eye. Be ready.
·Retreating From The Threat: a tactical retreat may at times be necessary. However retreating backwards as in the Gallatin video without knowing what is behind you can cause you to fall, giving the suspect the advantage to hurt you and kill you (look at what happens @ 12 seconds and also @ 32 seconds). Also look at the Camarillo video (@ 33 seconds) to see how retreating backwards can cost you your life. Where and when possible, it is better to move laterally away from the deadly threat. Our peripheral vision allows us to see barriers that exist to our right or left, but not to the rear. If you trip or fall, know that you have to immediately move and get up before the threat is on you. If you failed to get up and move on time, and the suspect is on you will be forced to fight from the ground, so be ready for this.
·Proximity To The Offenders/Reactionary Gap: Sgt. Dennis Tueller, Salt Lake City, UT; in SWAT Magazine 1983 wrote an article called “How CLOSE is TOO Close?” The article and tests that he ran came to be known as the Tueller Drilland later as the 21 foot rule. He demonstrated the danger that a suspect armed with an edged weapon presents to an officer with a holstered weapon at distances of less than 21 feet. Long story short, it is a totality of the articulable active and lethal threat circumstances that control (demeanor, hostile actions, hostile language, closing distance to you or another innocent person etc.) not just the fact that they are 21 feet or closer. Split second decisions that we will have to make and articulate afterwards. Maintaining a reactionary gap is in our favor so do your best to do so at all times. See the TOO Close – Don’t Underestimate the Knife video for more examples of threat that edged weapons present when in close proximity.
·Relying on One Round to Stop the Threat-Don’t: There is no magic bullet that immediately stops a threat or that causes a body to fly backwards when shot. Society has been programed to think like this through movies and television. In the Gallatin, Camarillo and the Glendale video, you see the deadly threat take rounds and continue to pose a deadly threat by closing with the officer. In a situation like these where the offender is closing on you, it will take more than one round to stop the threat.
·Shot Placement: What is, capable of causing a threat to cease to exist or stop is shot placement, for example, a head shot (s) in the “t-zone.” However many are not skilled or confident enough to be able to consciously make this type of shot especially in a fast moving incident of this type where both you and the deadly threat are moving.. Remember your target zones: The 1) T-Zone/Head shot 2) Thoracic Cavity and 3) Pelvic Girdle area. It may take a combination or multiple combinations (Mozambique for example) or repeated fire to any of the individual zones to make the threat stop (see the target example below).
·Verbal Commands: The situation is volatile and escalated. Oftentimes the offenders are agitated and may not be in a proper state of mind so keep verbal commands simple and limit it to only one officer giving the commands. This helps to prevent confusion and any furtive motions caused by the suspect responding to multiple commands from multiple officers who may be saying “stand up, lay down, kneel down etc.”
·Hesitation: Do what you need to do legally, quickly and efficiently for the betterment of all. You are in a volatile and deadly situation, you need to be on task and focused on the task at hand without having to worry about what may or may not be said in the media. You have been trained on when you can and cannot use force, and how to effectively use force so act accordingly.