POLICE Magazine

AUG 2019

Magazine for police and law enforcement

Issue link: https://policemag.epubxp.com/i/1150736

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Page 37 of 68

P O L I C E M AG .C O M 35 Owned and designed by an Australian Special Forces Veteran High quality Buffalo leather band Reinforced stainless steel plate & laser cut emblem Thin Red Line series also available Proudly supporting US Military and All First Responders www.hittershardware.com actions learned in training much less intuitive. Maximize the chance while in train- ing to make sure you're confident that you have sufficient range of motion to perform basic skills, including bleeding control and applying a tourniquet. Oth- erwise, make the required adjustments. e adjustments could be as simple as knowing which piece of gear to remove to perform specific functions. In more drastic situations, it could be necessary to find other alternatives for gear and armor, including lightweight ballistic alternatives. CARRYING THE LOAD e combined weight of helmets, body armor, firearms, and technical gad- gets can have a significant impact on the wearer. Typical steel-constructed plates with rifle-stopping power weigh as much as 16 pounds, and moving around with that much extra weight can be both physically and mentally taxing. In a report studying the effect of weight on U.S. troops, the Center for a New American Security found that heav y loads affect situational aware- ness and decrease soldier performance by reducing cognitive and tactical per- formance and mobility. For officers responding to an active shooter, their equipment requirements are similar to that of a soldier. Situational awareness is like any oth- er skill; you improve it with practice and training. Officers often exchange gunfire with active shooters at ranges of less than 20 feet, so improving instinct and reac- tion times is a high priority. Conducting tactical drills and practicing techniques while in full gear and in reality-based simulations boosts speed, agility, and adaptability to the rigors of fatigue. In active shooter situations seconds matter, and police officers need to be both comfortable and agile in heavi- er body armor and gear. Focusing on training with full gear can help officers achieve the experience and confidence needed to increase survivability and situation outcomes. Active shooter situations are unlike most other calls officers will respond to, so you need to train to respond to them in the gear you will use. Making equip- ment a focal point in all training can help you better adapt during critical sit- uations and help improve survivability for you and the victims. Sgt. Scott M. Harding is a 34-year veter- an of law enforcement and EMS who cur- rently serves in the patrol division of the Greenburgh (NY) Police Department. He has experience as commanding officer of the paramedic unit, a field training offi- cer, a special operations paramedic, and a hazardous materials specialist. Hard- ing is currently a member of the Armor NOW Advisory Board.

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