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Navigating police use of force: Reevaluating law enforcement fitness standards

Jamie Borden delves into the adequacy of current fitness standards for law enforcement officers

In the second 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 provides invaluable insights into the fitness standards of today’s law enforcement agencies. As an expert in critical incident review and use of force, Borden sheds light on the challenges officers face when encountering unarmed suspects and the implications of current fitness standards. He emphasizes the importance of self-investment and continual conditioning to prepare officers for unpredictable and potentially dangerous situations on the streets.

Key learning points

Minimum standards vs. real-world preparedness: Borden highlights the distinction between minimum fitness standards set by academies and the readiness required for officers to engage with potentially hostile individuals on the streets. He underscores the need for officers to go beyond these minimum standards through self-conditioning and constant vigilance.

The unpredictability of street encounters: Exploring the inherent unpredictability of street encounters, Borden emphasizes the need for officers to be mentally and physically prepared for any situation. With factors such as unknown skill sets, drug influence and malevolent intentions, officers must continuously adapt and identify alternative options for managing encounters.

The role of self-investment: Borden advocates for officers to invest in their personal development, turning each day into a training opportunity. By cultivating a knowledge base and converting it into wisdom through practical application, officers can enhance their survivability and effectiveness in the field.

Questions for discussion

  1. How can law enforcement agencies better align fitness standards with the realities officers face on the streets, considering the unpredictability of encounters with potentially hostile individuals?
  2. What measures can departments implement to encourage officers to engage in ongoing self-investment and conditioning to enhance their readiness and resilience?
  3. In what ways can the training curriculum be adapted to address the complexities of real-world encounters, ensuring officers are adequately prepared for the challenges they may encounter?

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