Traffic Stop Shooting Drills
How many Law Enforcement Officers have been provided training by your agency on traffic stop shootouts? REAL training? Well, here’s some things to consider about that type of event. This shit ain’t expensive or difficult to set up. It doesn’t take long. And it could save your life even just seeing this in video form and doing some mental war gaming 😉
Zero talking in this video. I just provide a hand full of examples of exiting my vehicle (a pretend police car, my awesome range is outside my jurisdiction, and I train on my personal time) and doing some of the normal things that I do for a traffic stop like a quick 360 visual scan from my own vehicle’s doorway, keeping my eyes on the vehicle which I often see does not happen on the highway with a lot with patrolmen looking down at the pavement, I make contact with the vehicle and check the trunk as well as establish my chain of evidence, I usually start my verbal rapport with the driver from the rear bumper of the vehicle and try to get him to move his hands and/or turn his head out towards his open window (we can dive more into that in future articles as there is a LOT going on at the same time during traffic stops) and I approach the driver’s window.
*Side note: I usually do a passenger side approach but this set up accomplishes a similar effect and gets the mind thinking and the repetitions still help.
THIS DRILL is designed to make sure that I don’t freeze up during a traffic stop shoot. Something in my brain-files that I can pull up in the heat of the moment and say to myself “You’ve done this before: Breath, Scan, Sight Picture, Move and shoot etc”.
I think you should set this drill up for yourself and for your agency. AND go ahead and take all the credit, I don’t give a shit. Just be sure to give us some love back occasionally 😉 but here’s how I would set this up:
- Running vehicle on range (or behind shooting line)
- Radio worn on body and in car (either turned off or on a training channel)
- Have a real or simulated dispatcher you can speak to during the drill.
- Call out, per your policy, TAG – LOCATION – DESCRIPTION
- Approach your driver however the fuck you want
- This drill focuses on timing, so…
- Identify threat during last approach at driver window
- Identify threat near rear bumper of suspect vehicle
- Identify threat between vehicles
- Identify threat in front of your vehicle’s door (things to think about, below)
- Identify threat as you stand in your doorway (etc)
- Identify threat before you exit your vehicle (etc)
- FUCKING MAJOR BONUS* Do NOT fucking turn your back as you walk back to your vehicle. At a minimum, if you are going to, keep glancing over your shoulder at your driver and passengers.
- Add your own variations as you see fit (safely).
Does this happen in real life?
Does a bear shit in the woods? You don’t need to look long on YouTube to find videos of cops getting shot on traffic stops. It’s a real thing. But I bet that your department has you reading LOTS of policies and attending sexual harassment training more than once a year … correct? Yes.
***Side note, I just found yesterday that my department has a LEO, a VERY high ranking LEO with a badge and a gun, whose sole job 24/7 is to make sure that my agency and all of it’s assets are in compliance with fire code. Holy…fucking…shit… Stick with me here… We have someone whose only job is to do that… but do we have a LEO whose only job 24/7 is to make sure our officers are prepared to handle getting fucking shot during traffic stops? Or a LEO who is responsible to train us for active shooters at the schools in our jurisdiction? Or a LEO who teaches us the limitations of our handcuffs (like I have provided you here with things like how to shim out handcuffs)???
So yes. This happens actually a lot in real life. I went out and practiced it last weekend. Hopefully you can consider some of the following that will save your life on duty.
Things to consider…
- If you get into a shootout and you, like a cowboy, have NOT called out your location and the vehicle description before you decided to make the stop than you are going to have to handle at least one shooter as a threat AS WELL AS playing fucking catch up on the radio to get some backup to you.
- What are the benefits of footwork and knowing your surroundings and spacing of vehicles.
- Should you leave your driver side door open?
- Should you leave your doors unlocked?
- What if the passenger exits the vehicle?
- What if you are juuuuust in front of your cruiser’s open door? Should you get back in?
- *Check out our very ingenious method for a very early threat identification in our video 😉
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Stay safe, Stay sharp, Stay legal, and watch your six.