Law enforcement safety tips: how to help yourself in a fight

“The peace officer who is psychologically unprepared for a gunfight is fighting two people when he goes into a gunfight. He must conquer both himself and his adversary.”

– Chic Gaylord, 1960.

It’s widely known that most police officers never shoot their gun in the line of duty, no matter how long they’ve been in the service. But that doesn’t mean officers should be unprepared to do so. Dave Spaulding, a 28-year law enforcement veteran, has written an article giving four tips for prevailing during a violent confrontation:

  1. Stay in the fight. The person to get off the first solid hit is more likely to win the fight. Also, getting shot does not mean death. Unless you’re killed instantly or bleed out within minutes, it’s unlikely that you’ll die.
  2. Stay alert. Felons are more likely to travel in groups so keep an eye out for other offenders.
  3. Call for backup as soon as you can. Safety in numbers. You’re more likely to succeed if you have more prepared officers with you.
  4. Medical self-help. Wear your armor. If you are shot, stay calm and stop the bleeding to the best of your ability then call for help. Trained paramedics are usually only minutes away in most areas. Plus, some shooting schools provide street level trauma care courses. Attending one could save lives, including your own.

Remember: it’s your life on the line along with the lives of your fellow officers and any innocent bystanders. Do all that you can to ensure the safety of everyone involved.