Why you should do crisis rehearsal every day

If you practice all the 'what-ifs,' you will be ready to respond to any call, even the one you dread the most


When supervisors and leaders retire, they take with them decades of accumulated skills, experience and patterns of thinking about how things get done – also known as “institutional knowledge” – that may not be passed along. To collect that information, Police1 has created the Institutional Knowledge Project to create a repository of lessons learned around the management of people, policy, training, supervision and discipline that can be applied by future generations of police supervisors and leaders when handling similar situations. This submission is from Marty Katz, a retired sergeant with the Broward Sheriff’s Office in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

To participate in Police1's Institutional Knowledge Project, click here. Questions? Email editor@police1.com.

By Marty Katz

What happened?

A sergeant I worked for years with was shot and killed during our shift.

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How did you handle the situation?

I responded to control the crime scene, direct responding units (hundreds of deputies), inform arriving command staff, all after comforting him while awaiting the ambulance.

Looking back, was there anything would you have done differently?

No, except I was on the way to meet him for coffee so maybe if I was closer to the scene it might have made a difference.

What lesson did you identify from this situation?

Do crisis rehearsal in your mind every day. Practice for all the what-ifs. When the time arrives, it is too late to think. You must react and react correctly. If you practice, your mind will react as if you have done this before, even if you have not.

My first thought when the call was broadcast was to arrive as quickly and safely as I could while listening to the first deputies arriving and directing the search from the front seat of my responding patrol car. In this line of work, you must respond by second nature and your body has to move before your mind can catch up to it.

Take this job seriously. Know exactly what your strengths are, not what you hope they are. All my training and experience came into play that night to give me the confidence to oversee the scene. This mindset has helped me throughout my career. And this was the hardest event of that career.

Marty Katz is a retired sergeant with the Broward Sheriff’s Office in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. During his 34-year career, his assignments included field training officer, SWAT team member and undercover narcotics detective.

To participate in Police1's Institutional Knowledge Project, click here. Questions? Email editor@police1.com.

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