Weapons that Injure and Kill Peace Officers

July 21, 2020

| Whenever a peace officer considers meeting or stopping a person(s), the officer must have an established policing mindset regarding the individual’s possible possession of a weapon and violence potential.  These law enforcement abilities involve a mental process and way of thinking that are developed through personal experiences, real world information, skill practice and repetition, and training.

When encountering or stopping people, the following are suggested law enforcement best practices and considerations:

  • Always consider the person to be possibly armed and potentially a danger to public or officer safety.
  • Never allow a complacent mindset to develop that elderly, female, injured, or juvenile individuals pose no threat due to their age, appearance, gender, sex, or size to maximize safety.
  • Have clear thoughts and various options when you conduct initiated
  • activities – pedestrian stops and vehicle pullovers, and responses to crimes in progress or service calls, that demand different verbal strategies, de-escalation techniques, and use of force options.
  • Take into account the nationwide variety of pullover and stop terminology.  The following categories are offered for reflection:

– Vehicle Enforcement


-High Risk

  • Utilize a backup officer to serve as the cover officer when you are searching someone.
  • Develop a keen sense for recognizing behavioral cues of reading the scene and reaction to police presence before policing actions are initiated. [1]
  • Gather and analyze actionable information to determine the safest tactics prior to contact.
  • Divide weapons into two categories – concealed (on or off the body) and disguised.

-Concealed – hiding and keeping from being seen or secret, etc.

-Disguised – creating a different appearance, making a weapon unrecognizable, and obscuring, etc.

  • Recognize a classification of weapons that include the following broad categories:

-Blunt objects – bat, board, brass knuckles, club, hammer, and pipe, etc.

-Edged weapons – cutting instrument, knife, and penetrating point, etc.

-Explosive devices – booby traps, bomb, and improvised explosive device, etc.

-Firearms – handgun, rifle (semi-automatic or automatic), and shotgun

-Personal weapons – hands, fists, and feet

-Unusual – bow and arrow, fire (Molotov cocktail), and poison (food ordered while in uniform), etc.

-Vehicles [2] [3]

  • Consider the unanticipated places where a weapon could be concealed, i.e. the groin area and inside footwear, etc.
  • Review police equipment catalogues to consider holsters that conceal firearms and other weapons.
  • Determine the position of disadvantage for the person suspected of a crime.
  • Assume a position of advantage and display weapon retention competence.
  • Be proficient in the application of a control hold and handcuffing.
  • Never hesitate as a cover officer to communicate a reminder or warning to emphasize safety or stop an unethical action.
  • Appreciate the law enforcement lesson learned when officers have not exercised the right to handcuff prior to starting a search.
  • Remember it is a common criminal trait to carry more than one weapon – find one weapon, then search for the next dangerous armament.

These suggested best practices are not inclusive for effectively and safely conducting stops and searches. This material is offered for thought, to promote discussion, and a reminder to always be safe and vigilant.

Why should I review this information?

Unfortunately, the history of law enforcement injuries and deaths are littered with too many examples where weapons were not discovered during stops and prisoner transportation.  These tragic incidents demonstrate that the officers involved may have been complacent, used unsafe tactics, or underestimated their attacker.

Potential and in-service law enforcement personnel should constantly review their policing mindset and tactical procedures when they encounter and stop people.  An officer’s awareness and confidence will enhance personal safety.


[1]  Article: Safe Distancing: Adapting to an Invisible Threat, https://www.lawofficer.com/invisible-threat/

[2] Thought of the Week: Ambush Attacks Using Vehicles Upon LEOs, https://leoka.org/2020/06/14/june-14-2020/

[3] FBI Report: Ambushes and Unprovoked Attacks on Law Enforcement Officers, https://publicintelligence.net/fbi-ambushes-unprovoked-attacks/


Mentors, Trainers, and Friends

July 14, 2020

| Jim Fraser (Georgia); Wayne McBride (Northern California); Rich Wemmer (Southern California); Brian Willis (Alberta, Canada); and I, (Marcus Young, Nevada) had an incredible opportunity to meet on Zoom. These gentlemen are four of my mentors, role-models, and friends who have a diverse depth of law enforcement experience and knowledge. Each has done incredible work in training law enforcement and military personnel throughout North America and abroad. While serving their countries in law enforcement and the United States military, they implemented learner-centered training in the classroom and reality-based field scenarios, focusing on leadership development in law enforcement personnel at all ranks. Our discussion resulted in passionate training comments, ranging from the COVID pandemic, the current state of law enforcement nationwide, lessons learned in critical incidents and training, and personal career experiences.

As the Deputy Executive Director for the International Law Enforcement Educators and Training Association (ILEETA), Brian provided an update of the upcoming ILEETA Conference [1] scheduled, August 2-7, 2020, in St. Louis, MO. He also gave an overview of his virtual Excellence in Training Academy [2]. His online academy is an invaluable tool and great informational resource for law enforcement professionals to enhance the depth of their knowledge at a time where classroom instruction is impractical.

Why should I consider ILEETA membership and The Excellence in Training Academy?
The following is an excerpt highlighting the benefits of ILEETA membership [1]:
• FREE subscription to ILEETA’s official quarterly periodical, The ILEETA Digest, which is sent to all members via e-mail, with NO advertising.
• FREE subscriptions to ILEETA e-Publications: the ILEETA Journal, and the ILEETA E-Bulletin.
• Access to the ILEETA Learning Lab featuring course synopsis and interviews from the ILEETA Annual Conference.
• ILEETA Webcasts of the Emerson Hour, sponsored by Virtual Academy, with videos featuring the presentations from the 2018 Emerson Hour.
• FREE magazine subscriptions to several law enforcement publications.
• Discounted instructor liability insurance from Leech Bridges Insurance.
• Dues renewal waived for active duty military personnel deployed outside their home country.
• Line of Duty Death Benefit of $1000.

Within Brian’s Winning Mind Training’s website [2], The Excellence in Training Academy, currently has a library of 247 interviews and 20 webinars of a wide range of experts. The following excerpt from the website highlights value of this extensive interview library associated with membership:
“The weekly content will be 30 to 60 minutes in length and will come in a variety of formats including:
• Audio interviews with law enforcement trainers from around the world on a variety of topics designed to give you insights and wisdom from the best in the business on training strategies, philosophies, lessons learned and a variety of other strategies that will help you become a better trainer.
• Interviews with guests who are not law enforcement trainers but, have something to offer regarding the art of storytelling, creating compelling slide decks, crisp management, mental preparation and other aspects of interest to law enforcement trainers who are committed to delivering great training.
• Webinars that will give you insights into the Excellence in Training philosophies and provide you with proven and practical strategies to take your training to a whole new level.
• Reviews and insights from books and training programs.
• Question and Answer sessions to address your burning questions and biggest challenges.
• All the content will be available in a protected area on the website that is only accessible to members.”
[1] 2020 ILEETA Conference and Exposition: https://ileeta.org/ileeta-conference-expo-3/
[2] Winning Mind Training, Excellence in Training Academy, https://excellenceintrainingacademy.com/about-the-academy/


Analysis of Case Studies to Enhance Training|

July 5, 2020

The FBI’s Uniform Crime Report (UCR) Law Enforcement Officers Killed and Assaulted (LEOKA) Program provides information involving law enforcement officers (LEOs) who were assaulted and feloniously killed throughout the United States. This 539-page document offers summaries of LEOs killed from 2002-2018 and selected reviews of LEOs assaulted and injured by firearms and cutting instruments (i.e. edged weapons and knives) from 2013-2018. The abbreviated case studies within this report are further specified by year and state [1].

Why should I review this information?

The FBI’s LEOKA Program is historically known to be a clearing house of invaluable information provided to the FBI by local, state, tribal, and federal law enforcement agencies throughout the United States [2]. Trainers all over North America utilize collected and validated LEOKA information to identify officer-safety trends so they may enhance safety training programs to reduce injuries and prevent deaths. The case studies are a valuable tool for line personnel. trainers, supervisors, and managers in developing law enforcement experience, knowledge, and proficiencies. Using these case studies to examine critical lessons learned will assist in building practical and reality-based scenarios to enhance critical decision-making abilities, de-escalation strategies, and use-of-force options training to augment perishable skills needed in all policing activities, especially service call responses, traffic enforcement pullovers, investigative stops, and high-risk situations.


[1] Department of Justice (DOJ), FBI, Criminal Justice Information Services Division (CJIS), UCR LEOKA Program, https://ucr.fbi.gov/leoka/2018/downloads/leoka-narratives-2002-2018.pdf

[2] DOJ, FBI, CJIS UCR LEOKA Services and Program,