Dutch Chris Moyer: The better your training, the more effective is your controlling position in your battlespace!

About the author

Dutch Chris Moyer served 31 years in the Unites States Army, 26 of which were Special Operations Command/JSOC operator (SGM): Unconventional Warfare, Special Reconnaissance, and Foreign Internal Defense and Direct Action Missions. He took part in over 1000 of successful combat assaults in classified and unclassified missions in Afghanistan and Iraq. Dutch Chris Moyer is founder of DCM Consulting LLC.


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Tough, realistic training based on scenarios from past experience

The Interview

Thomas Lojek: Would you share a few thoughts with us about the ongoing public discussion on “defund the police” and the fear that a “militarization of the police” that has gone too far… at least for the taste of certain groups of politicians?

Honestly, what do you think about all that?

Dutch Chris Moyer: There should be more funding for the police, not less.

I will explain it to you from a military man’s perspective. 

If I am in charge of an area, it becomes my battlespace.

This is my definition of every area that I move in or that I am in charge of. 

Thomas Lojek: And a nice American village? A few quiet streets, and a few clean houses and everything seems so peaceful… so why call it a “battlespace”? 

Dutch Chris Moyer: Because as a professional soldier, we see more than just the community/battle-space. 

We integrate with locals in order to become trusted agents inside that particular community/battlespace. 

Active patrolling / observing / interacting allows the law-abiding citizens to garner trust in our presence.

Active patrolling also allows us to observe the population and gather information. 

It is very similar to the law enforcement officer’s community as he/she needs to be part of it and work with it just like a military element does when in charge of the battlespace.

Even if it seems that there are no open or imminent threats for the moment, nevertheless, I have to control the area.

If I don’t, then I put everyone in danger.

Not just for what we can see, but for what we can’t see and don’t know yet. 

Therefore, the element must have a dedicated interest in that battlespace.

We have a presence in this area, and it allows us to know the area and how it works.

If something happens, then we should know how to react. 

Even if our dominating position of the battlespace is won through non-direct actions, like showing a strong presence, maintaining an effective operational preparedness or just in a good understanding of how our area works and how we can use that knowledge to our advantage.

But to get there, it needs certain skills.

And these skills, you will only get through training.


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The better your training, the more effective you are at controlling your position in your battlespace, even through non-direct actions.

And the more successful you’re likely to be.

A small group can control an area very effectively when they know what they do.

Now, let’s transfer this military thinking to what our police forces are going through these days.

Each police officer, each department/constabulary has a battlespace: the community they are responsible for.

And inside that battlespace, they need to take care of the people who live there.

It happens in direct action, as force-on-force in the case of facing violent crime, or in non-direct action like, patrolling and maintaining a good relationship with their community.

Both need a level of personnel, training and experience.

It is a very simple equation: The more our police officers train, the better they become.

The more police patrols, the less crime will happen in their community.

The more effectively trained, the better they will be.

With this better training, the more effective they will be at preventing crime or intervening in an ongoing situation.

There is empirical data for that.

But getting there needs support.

Public support in funding.

An effective level of numbers in police personnel and hours in training.

You cannot take the money and public support for our police forces out of this equation and expect a positive outcome on crime prevention and public safety.

It won’t work this way.

We are already seeing the devastating effects in Seattle and Minneapolis.

It just doesn’t make sense.

I will give you another example where this “defund the police” movement has lost its touch with reality completely.

Let’s talk about direct action.

There is a situation, and a police officer needs to pull his gun and go to work.

In this situation: do we want to have the officer more training or less training?

Really, think about it.

Especially, think about it in a way as if you were somehow involved in a situation, where one or more police officers pull out their guns around you, for whatever reason.

In this moment, do you want them to be well-trained to handle the situation that is now evolving around you?

Or will you be more worried about the funding they get for political reasons?

Let’s just be real.

What matters more, now?

Well-trained officers or defunded officers?

Make your choice.

And it better be the right choice in the seconds that could decide if you and your family will live or die.

You can’t have both.

And this is where we all are missing a good answer from the politicians, who are demanding to cut the funding for our brothers and sisters who patrol our streets every day.

What if these politicians were involved in an incident?

Do they want well-trained experts stand-ing at their side or amateurs with guns or even their so much beloved social workers?

If any politician can answer this question to me, then I will be all ears to listen to what they have to say.

Until then, this “defund the police” is utter nonsense to me.

Sadly, it is dangerous nonsense.

And many will pay the ultimate price for it. 

The truth is: Barely-trained people get barely-optimal results

Thomas Lojek: Where does this all come from?

Dutch Chris Moyer: This goes back so many years.

Do you remember when these “sympathetic shootings” happened and became a big thing in the media?

These situations occur when one officer fired his weapon and other officers fire without identifying the threat.

Maybe 15 or 20 rounds are fired and only one or two hit the target?

Of course, the public started to ask questions. I understand that.

But they never asked “why” these things happen and especially, they did not ask for the right “why.”

And this is when it started to get worse.

The truth is: Barely-trained people get barely-optimal results.

That is a general rule in life.

It is broadly accepted in every industry.

Only police officers don’t get the fairness of a balanced view and a common understanding of the simple rule of “good training leads to better performance.”

Especially these shootings in the early years of the last decade left a public image of an incompetent and overly-aggressive police force when, in fact, the reason why these things happened was because of a lack of training.

And the public doesn’t know that.

It sees only the dramatic outcome as shown in these terrible shooting videos in the media, without an understanding of the “why” behind it.

Remember the Furgeson riots that happened after the Michael Brown shooting?

Right away, the Obama administration jumped on the train of public outrage.

They targeted the removal of military-type armored vehicles: BearCats, any armored vehicle that drove our police forces into these towns where the riots happened.

And suddenly the militarization of the police force was all over the news and became a thing in the public opinion.

It was a big thing, and the demilitarization of the police started to find roots all over the US.

And yes, they looked like “military guys” with their multicam uniforms and helmets.

To the public, they may look like “soldiers.”

And maybe this wasn’t the best piece of publicity for our police.

But let’s get real here, because I have never heard one of these public critics talk about the men.

And yes, there are humans in these multicam uniforms and helmets and armor.

If this equipment helps police officers to survive in a very hostile situation, then why not give it to them?

Why not give them tactics, techniques and procedures to survive?

And the helmets/armor/rifles, why not give it to them? It helps them to get back safely to their families when the job is done.

Maybe police forces don’t need that multi-cam, fine… make it black, make it blue, or whatever the color of your department is.

Does a small-town patrol officer need a tactical helmet, tactical gear?

Maybe, maybe not, but it should be available to them.

And if there is a non-permissive/ semi-permissive environment and an inherent threat of lethal force against our guys, why not give them what they need to survive that?

And I would like to hear from the politicians, who became a public voice against giving police officers what they need to survive.

What is the real reason to demand police officers in these missions and violent environments should not get the right tools?

Why should our brothers and sisters in blue not be properly equipped and well-trained to get the job done and then get back alive and well to their homes?!

Let’s not forget: It’s the badge. It’s the flag, and it’s the uniform that we serve.

Stay focused on the fundamentals: pistol, rifle, close quarters battle

Thomas Lojek: I give you unlimited funds and unlimited power to build a police force that you always wanted to have for the United State: What would you do?

Dutch Chris Moyer: First, I would double the number of officers.

And we would train in cycles.

One half of my police officers would be patrolling and doing whatever job they are assigned.

And the other half would be training.

And my training would be: stay focused on the fundamentals: pistol, rifle, close quarters battle.

And then dealing with non-combatants and dealing with an escalation of force.

Just like you escalate breaching.

What do you do, when you come to a closed door?

Do you throw a bomb and blow it all up? No!

You see if it is open or closed.

You use your head and determine what to do based on the mission.

So, what do we need to do?

This for me is one of the biggest things.

Tough, realistic training based on scenarios from past experience and tough training developed by experienced officers.

We need force-on-force training in difficult situations.

Our police officers need someone to help them to train realistic scenarios with simunition, using opposing forces (OPFOR).

OOPFOR is primarily made up of other officers in a training department.

I will tell you the hard truth: We want the training harder than it is in real life. That’s what we want.

Sweat in training saves lives in combat.

We want more and harder training so that when our officers go to the battlefield, then they can feel confident.

Our officers need to be comfortable in uncomfortable situations: We can do this!

Everything comes down to true leadership. This is key.

An officer who is calm and always keeps his/her head in a situation is demonstrating his trained qualities that came from good leadership.

In many situations, a calm and cool demeanor can avoid conflict. Or it can keep use of force to a minimum or use only when necessary.

The trouble starts when there is not enough experience on the ground to accomplish the task at hand.

And inside or our agencies, I would like to see a culture of true leadership growing from within: We have to look for leaders who are more experienced in order to train the newer officers.

Men/women who have already gone through these evolutions of training and operations is what I am talking about.

We need a culture of officers who learn to trust their fellow officers, because they went through the same hard training.

And they know that fellow officers will make the correct decisions.

Or those leaders who can identify what they need to accomplish the mission.

Leadership is essential.

Good leaders make good operators.

Both will get us better performance and a safer environment for everyone: our officers and the public.


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Photos by Dutch Chris Moyer and Dave Young

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