Tactical planning for every officer

Tactics – Webster defines them as the art of disposing and maneuvering forces in combat. In fact, the word conjures up visions of military officers huddled around huge maps and moving entire armies in combat. So, do tactics have a place in police work? If so, are they just for the Special Operations Teams such as SWAT? You might think that tactics are for the special elite forces as regular officers do not have the training or the time to devote to the planning and maneuvering process required. Right? …WRONG.

There is no doubt that tactical planning can (and does) sometimes become very complicated, but only if you make it so. However, tactics and tactical thinking does not have to be complex. They should be based upon the last principle of war SIMPLICITY. They also need to be adaptable to every situation that you encounter. Are there such tactics? How should they be taught and where do they fit into everyday patrol operations?

Let’s understand that tactical planning should begin in day one of any police academy all too often we wait for advanced schools or Team training before we teach this critical subject. Since most police academies have Basic Training that is where it belongs for tactical thinking and tactics in general are basic. I like to think that advanced training is simply Mastery of the Basics. The tactical concepts taught should be based upon time honored principles that have been around for thousands of years. No need to develop new ones. They must be CONCEPTS not PROCEDURES. They have to be simple so they can be implemented under stress and most importantly they have to apply to all situations that are encountered.

In order to understand the nature of these tactics and their application you must first understand the mentality or thought process that drives them. There is an old saying that you should “watch your thoughts for they become your actions.” This certainly describes this concept called the Strategic Objective. Your thoughts and mental state of mind drive your actions or behaviors. Therefore it is paramount that you have instilled the proper mindset or Strategic Objective for your tactics.

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