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Friday, March 30, 2012

All Police Officers Should Have This Training!!

The Safety & Loss Control Workshops have begun, and we have had a very positive response to the afternoon session on the “De-escalation Tactics for Veterans in Crisis.” The title of this blog post was actually pulled directly from a course evaluation from one of the officers who attended this training in Bemidji. A police chief who attended wrote: “De-escalation was great—I will be sending my officers to the class.”

The course is being taught by instructors from the Upper Midwest Community Policing Institute. The instructor in Bemidji and Fergus Falls was retired Command Sergeant Major Bob Boone. He provided background of the veteran experience and offered tools that can assist officers in responding to people in crisis—not just veterans. Bob stresses officer safety and scene safety while providing the officers with an understanding and knowledge as to their options.

We are lucky to have the course as the entire afternoon session for this year’s Safety & Loss Control Police Track.

For more information and to register for a workshop, visit:


Responder Safety = Public Safety

Up next time..."I guess that means I'll be canceling my vacation" (the impact on local public safety when the president comes to town).

In the meantime, stay safe and be careful.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Road Trip!

Lino Lakes PD using TSO during use-of-force training
I will be out of the office and on the road quite a bit in the next few weeks, traveling across Minnesota for our annual LMCIT Loss Control Workshops. This series is a nine-city outreach that promotes our loss control programs and provides practical, affordable training for city staff.

This year we are offering both a morning and an afternoon police track. We start the day with our new initiative to reduce the injuries associated with police training—the Training Safety Officer (TSO) course. It has been tested, it works, and it does not reduce the intensity of the training.

The morning police track will continue with “Police Injury Management: How Can You Help?” This course will focus on trends and what other departments are doing to reduce injuries. The final morning session is “Off-the-Cuff: When Can You Handcuff?” In Minnesota, we have some new case law that you need to know about in regards to pre-arrest detention.

The police track continues in the afternoon with “De-escalation Tactics for Veterans in Crisis.” We are lucky to be able to offer this course, which is in demand all over the country. It is being taught by Wayne Shellum and staff from the Upper Midwest Policing Institute. It is full of good everyday police de-escalation tactics, and it provides tools to aid on calls with veterans.

We have not forgotten you, and we have learned that scheduling training on weekdays makes the training very hard for most of you to attend. Last fall we offered evening trainings with Dr. Rich Gasaway. Those classes were full, and the evaluations told us the firefighters wanted more—and they preferred the evening class. We will be offering evening firefighter training later this spring and again this fall. We should have something on the website and the blog soon.

Our Loss Control Workshops begin in Bemidji on March 27
Road trip
The road trip starts in Bemidji on March 27, and heads to Fergus Falls, Springfield, Willmar, Brooklyn Park, Saint Paul, Biwabik, Rochester, and Saint Cloud. The training costs $20, the courses are approved for POST credit, and lunch is included. I will be at all nine cities and look forward to meeting you and having lunch or coffee. I want to hear your concerns and find out what is going well.

For more information and to register :


Responder Safety = Public Safety

Up next time...a few notes from the road!

In the meantime, stay safe and be careful.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

The Sterile Cockpit

Airline crews have been employing the
"sterile cockpit" rule for years...

I first heard the phrase “sterile cockpit” years ago when I accompanied a neighboring city’s SWAT team on a high-risk warrant. The team leader warned me that the team would be very quiet as they finished the briefing and made final preparations. “We maintain a ‘sterile cockpit,’” he said.

That quiet continued as we drove into the neighborhood. I noticed some of the officers gestured with their hands as they quietly committed their planned movements to memory—it was similar to athletes memorizing and visualizing their plays.

The officers staged and made entry, adjusting to unexpected elements of children, dogs, and a floor plan that was not what their plans showed. The sergeant told me after the entry that “sterile cockpit” meant they wanted only mission-critical conversation happening. The entry and search went smoothly and without incident.

The commercial airline industry and the military have been using this concept for years. In fact, FAA regulations specifically prohibit crew members’ performance of non-essential duties or activities while the aircraft is involved in taxi, takeoff, landing, and all other flight operations conducted below 10,000 feet. That rule includes the entire crew, including pilots and flight attendants.

It is now time for emergency responders to employ a "sterile cab."
The term was used recently by an instructor at a National Fire Academy class as he encouraged a class of fire chiefs, captains, and EMS supervisors to maintain a sterile cockpit (or sterile cab) while on emergency responses. “The only conversation allowed should be directly related to that call and the response,” he asserted. All of the concentration needs to be focused on the response, the mission, and situational awareness.

It makes sense. Emergency response is dangerous—and having the entire fire or EMS crew concentrating on the task at hand should be the SOP. Similarly, for the cops working in one-officer cars, it means reducing or eliminating the distractions coming at you. Driving the car is job #1. This concept of the “sterile cockpit” should absolutely go beyond the aviation industry—because it works. Remember:

Responder Safety = Public Safety

Up next time…the most professional thing we do.

In the meantime, stay safe and be careful.