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ASIS International
Association of
Threat Assessment

Police One

Homeland Security Network


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To create a super cop we must look to training and the skill developmental of the human brain.

After returning from a counter terrorism training mission in Israel in 2006, I was convinced that American law enforcement needed to change the way it trains  officers to meet the needs of today’s challenges of terrorism, gang warfare, narco-trafficking and sophisticated criminal activity. We need to increase critical thinking and observational skills if we are to be successful in protecting our Nation and modern society.

I began looking at master performers from different disciplines to determine how they have improved their skills.  Journalist, Malcolm Gladwell in his book Outliers  also studied people with exceptional capabilities, everything from athletes, musicians, marksmen etc.  The common thread he found in those who were considered “World Class” is that they spent an enormous amount of time developing their skills and abilities with focused practice and training.

I thought of those in our military and specialized law enforcement units, Navy Seals, Army Rangers, Delta Force, SWAT and other highly skilled operators.  Although, the individuals who are selected for these units are highly vetted, it is their continual training, skill development, and most importantly tenacity, that make them almost super human.  So I wondered how we could expedite the skill development curve in a way that would be practical for law enforcement officers who have an extremely limited amount of time to train and cannot--or perhaps better stated--will not devote the incredible time necessary to perfect their skills.

As an overall strategy, I used Col. John Boyd’s O.O.D.A. (Observe, Orient, Decide, Act) Loop.  See chart below.


When we look at Boyd’s theory we find that Observation is the first component in the loop.  We cannot expect to get good results in the other phases of the loop, if we are not accurate and rapid with what we observe in circumstances that are as dynamic and rapidly changing as the situations today’s officers must face on the street.  As I dissected the OODA Loop I began to notice that law enforcement spends the majority of its training time on the Decide and Act phases of the Loop and little if any of it on the Observe and Orient phases. (Note: It is critically important that officers do train on the (decide – act) side of the loop and in fact need to spend considerably more time on these areas)

When looking at observation from a law enforcement training perspective, I tried to find if there was any training available for increasing observation skills.  My research concluded that there has been little, if any, training for this mission-critical and highly important skill. Generally the only observational training an officer may encounter is the old exercise of having officers describe what they saw after an unknown person runs into a classroom, creates a disturbance and then leaves, which invariably results in erroneous descriptions of the event.  This exercise generally accomplishes only two things.  It shows the unreliability of an untrained eyewitness and proves that a police officer’s observation skills are not any better than a lay person’s.

  The reason this is so important is that approximately 80% of what we perceive is delivered by our eyes to the visual cortex in our brain.  We see with our eyes, but it is the brain that interrupts the signals they send. Therefore, we need to train our brains to see[ , rapidly and interpret visual signals correctly. Rapid Threat Recognition Training will give you the tools to increase visual and cognitive skills.



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Police military, terrorism and guns  | Windsor, CA Observation On Demand based in Windsor, California, offers security training, observational skills, and law enforcement training materials and courses. observational skills, law enforcement training, windsor, california, ca