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Navigating police use of force: Mental preparedness and surviving the shift

Jamie Borden on the importance of officers being alert, prepared and constantly running through “what if” scenarios

In the fifth of a seven-part Policing Matters Roll Call series on use of force, host Jim Dudley engages with Jamie Borden from Critical Incident Review.

Borden highlights the necessity of approaching each shift with a mindset geared towards survival and success, underpinned by continuous scenario-based training. He advises officers to adopt a proactive stance in their mental preparation, emphasizing the creation of “what if” scenarios to anticipate and plan for the myriad of situations they may face. This approach is crucial in developing the automatic responses needed in critical incidents, allowing officers to act decisively and effectively.

Key learning points

Creating “what if” scenarios: Officers should mentally prepare for their shifts by envisioning various scenarios and outcomes, facilitating quicker and more effective responses to unexpected situations.

Building confidence through drills: Confidence-building exercises and drills play a vital role in enhancing officers’ proficiency with their tools and tactics, contributing to their overall readiness and performance in the field.

Mental resilience and survival: Borden underscores the importance of a mental framework focused on survival and overcoming failure. He advocates for a mindset that doesn’t accept defeat but instead finds ways to navigate through and beyond critical incidents.

Questions for discussion

  1. How can law enforcement agencies incorporate mental preparedness into their training programs to better equip officers for the challenges of their duties?
  2. What role does continuous training and scenario-based preparation play in helping officers develop the automaticity required for effective decision-making in critical situations?
  3. In what ways can officers maintain their mental resilience and focus on survival, especially in the face of overwhelming odds or critical incidents?

The entire series is available for viewing below.

In this seven-part series, Policing Matters podcast host Jim Dudley speaks with Jamie Borden about the complexities and nuances of police use of force
Jamie Borden explores the limitations of academy training and advocates for self-investment to bridge the gap between knowledge and proficiency in policing
Jamie Borden delves into the adequacy of current fitness standards for law enforcement officers
Jamie Borden urges officers to seek continuous training in self-defense and defensive tactics to ensure their safety and effectiveness
Jamie Borden discusses how de-escalation is not just a tactic but a goal, achieved through a range of tactical endeavors based on the dynamic circumstances officers face
Jamie Borden on the importance of officers being alert, prepared and constantly running through “what if” scenarios
Jamie Borden discusses the nuances and complexities officers face when engaging with an unarmed but potentially assaultive individual
Jamie Borden shares critical insights on preparing for a post-incident interview, highlighting the nuances between an officer’s perceived truth and the established facts

Policing Matters law enforcement podcast with host Jim Dudley features law enforcement and criminal justice experts discussing critical issues in policing