Arming our Educators, Part II

There are numerous differences between police officers and armed teachers. Police officers possess a police mindset. They have a working personality. This personality is a survival mindset and it is with them 24 hours a day. When they walk into a room, the first thing they do is scan the room, observe who is there, look for exits, find a seat close to an exit and facing the room.  When they walk with their significant other, they keep the other on their off-hand side. They do this so they can react to a potential threat when it is presented. This is second nature to officers. Most of the time they don’t think about it, it just happens. I still sweep my house a couple times a week just for the practice. For police officers, It is a price of doing business


Police officers use visualization as part of their survival mindset. When they catch a call, they visualize how they may need to respond. Mentally, they will ‘respond’ to a variety of contingencies. This prepares them in the event something unexpected happens. They will use a similar exercise prior to making a traffic stop. It is an if…then scenario.  If the driver does this, then I will do this. If the driver exits the vehicle, how will I respond? If the driver runs…. All this mental preparation helps the officer survive. This is not something that can be taught, it is developed. It is something that each officer develops based on his or her personal assessment and experiences and each officer is different.


Police officers carry a weapon for defensive purposes. They use the weapon to protect themselves or others when there is an imminent threat of death or serious physical injury. It is like body armor; it is for their protection. Officers that carry a back-up weapon have it for an extra layer of protection. Police officers do not carry a weapon for offensive purposes, unless there is a specific need such as SWAT or CRT. These require specialize training. Generally, these specialize units require a higher physical conditioning, very intensive training, and training with a team concept. Active shooter training changed the dynamic. This lesson was learned from the Virginia Tech shootings. Officers waited outside until the SWAT team responded, all the while listening to Seung-Hui Cho continue to shoot victims. This demonstrated the need to change the police response. The training protocol changed from waiting for SWAT to respond, to now, single entries; first officer to arrive is the first officer in. This is a complete change of mindset for the responding officers, a very different mental preparation.

Part III to follow

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