Ambush survival tip: Scan and process

Related tips:

John Farnam's reminders to officers in wake of Wash. ambush

Reminders for avoiding an ambush

When can an on-duty police officer relax? Never. What is "routine"? Nothing.

Ambushers in the past have called in false "routine calls," and deliberately triggered "routine traffic stops." They have (as in the Lakewood tragedy), targeted locations where their officers go to relax. Officers have been ambushed at gas pumps, in department parking lots, at restaurants, inside police stations, and sometimes in front of their homes. In the most recent attack in Washington, the ambusher struck officers seated in a coffee shop owned by a retired police officer just before the beginning of their shift.

Scan and process
The nation is currently actively engaged in the "war on drugs," the "war on crime," and most recently, the "war on terror." High-profile ambushes have occurred in 2009 in Oakland, Pittsburgh, Seattle, Fort Hood, and now Lakewood, Washington. In these ambushes, 15 police officers and thirteen soldiers lost their lives.

There is a danger that a copy cat might be inspired by these assaults. Trainers for years have cautioned that nothing is routine, and while in uniform you should never totally relax. Now is the time to live those words and maintain a level of environmental alertness at all times, while working. Whenever you think to do it, scan and process.

While scanning, you should take the time to visually check your environment visually 360 degrees if possible. Then process what it is that you see, for threats, violations, crimes in process, or suspicious individuals and circumstances. This should not only be a part of the patrol activity, but should be done when you are completing paper work on a lunch break, or anytime. You may see the development of a sudden assault or prevent one upon your person.

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