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Old 10-28-2012, 10:03   #1
Sam Spade
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Badge placement effects survival

From FSRC:

I. Badge placement affects survival odds for plainclothes cops

When officers who've just finished a shooting exercise gather around and an instructor holds up a "no-shoot" target that looks like it's been riddled by machine gun fire, that's a sobering moment.

Especially when the officers now see that the target sports a badge.

Some flat out deny they fired any mistaken rounds. But after running hundreds of officers through decision-making exercises in which at least one sudden target represents an out-of-uniform cop with a badge openly displayed, Sgt. Ward Smith knows the disturbing truth: Without awareness training, the average in-service officer will fire on the "friendly" form before realizing it's a fellow LEO.

Smith, supervisor of the Kansas City (MO) PD's firearms training section and a certified Force Science Analyst, has completed a two-year study of this phenomenon that's highly relevant for off-duty, undercover, and other plainclothes officers who become involved in a hot crime scene while armed--as well as for uniformed personnel who respond to such scenarios.

"When you're in street clothes with your gun out in an enforcement situation," Smith concludes from his findings, "where you place your badge--at your beltline or hanging from your neck--may directly affect your chances of surviving when you're confronted by a responding officer who does not personally recognize you."

Research results: A center-mass display is safer.


More in their newsletter. Cops should all subscribe.
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Old 10-28-2012, 13:38   #2
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Originally Posted by Sam Spade View Post
Badge placement affects survival odds for plainclothes cops

"When you're in street clothes with your gun out in an enforcement situation, where you place your badge--at your beltline or hanging from your neck--may directly affect your chances of surviving when confronted by a responding officer who does not personally recognize you."

Research results: A center-mass display is safer.
Great reminder. When I'm responding in uniform, and the gun/deadly threat still exists, the upper torso is what I'm aiming for. When tunnel vision kicks in, I'll probably not see (or stop seeing) anything hanging off the belt.
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Last edited by Patchman; 10-28-2012 at 13:42..
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Old 10-28-2012, 14:00   #3
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Maybe I'm wrong, but I tend to dismiss this as being real data being gathered when we are talking about a prop hanging off of a paper target being a real indicator. I would give more credence to this if it involved sim guns with live people. A paper target doesn't respond, talk back or interact with the shooter. In a real life on the street shoot/don't shoot scenario, we will be processing 10's if not 100's of indicators and stimuli from the people we are involved with to determine friend/foe, threat/no threat. Taping a badge image to a generic paper target, IMO, hardly represents real life decision making.

So did Sgt. Smith have another group, that wasn't aware like the first group, have targets that this time had the badge hung center mass? Was there now less holes in the target? If you claim A (belt badge) isn't effective, you can't just claim automatically B (center badge) is more effective without testing it. If you want to make a scientific statement, you must run this like a scientific study. You need two groups A and B who are equally unaware of the study or the objective and run them both through. If both A and B have the same number of holes your theory goes right out the window or you have a fatal flaw in the true assessment of the study.

Basically, if you don't know how to run a study that will produce true statistical results, don't claim you have an answer when you don't. So is it this article is that poorly written and the results aren't given? If he is a "Force Science Analyst" I would hope he knows how to run a study. So I'm thinking this is just a crappy summary article. I looked on their website and couldn't find the article. You have a direct link to it by chance?
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Last edited by OFCJIM40; 10-28-2012 at 14:02..
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Old 10-28-2012, 14:42   #4
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I've seen fair number of No-Shoot targets riddled with holes where the pictured UC "cop" was holding a badge up in front of his chest in his extended hand. Shiny. Got shot.

The sad part is that I've seen cops of all lengths of service make that same mistake ... and others of the same variable lengths of service catch themselves (flinching, but stopping short of pressing the trigger) and not fire on the No-Shoot target.

People get rattled under stress and start not seeing & hearing things.
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Old 10-28-2012, 15:16   #5
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My father always wore his badge in the middle of his vest, his thinking was if someone had something to focus on they would aim there, which is where the trauma plate is thus a lesser chance of injury.
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Old 10-28-2012, 15:16   #6
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I have a copy of the study memo PDF attached for anyone interested.
Attached Files
File Type: pdf Badge Study 2011-2012.pdf (151.1 KB, 121 views)

Last edited by ejes; 10-28-2012 at 15:18..
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Old 10-28-2012, 15:35   #7
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The "Badge Study" passes my common sense test.

Unfortnitely, there's no scientific method to prevent ALL blue-on-blue shootings. The best one can do is prevent as many as possible.

There's even one school of thought that the plain clothes LEO should be wearing their badges on their back, so the approaching LEOs can see it.
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Old 10-28-2012, 15:42   #8
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Ok, the memo reads much better than the article. I agree with the points made of being more aware, scanning the target better, etc. simple put, there are still too many variables in real life to call this conclusive, but, what the training attempted to achieve it did, and that is very good. We know in real life things can get very dynamic and chaotic fast, and I real life, there is more to shoot/don't shoot than just seeing a badge. But I do see what this training was trying to achieve and I do believe it was very good.
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Old 10-28-2012, 15:45   #9
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Our department mandated that all plainclothes units wear tactical vests with "POLICE" boldly across the back and front, and our badges have to be prominently displayed on the front. We had a blue on blue fatal shooting that prompted this change


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Old 10-28-2012, 15:50   #10
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Our department mandated that all plainclothes units wear tactical vests with "POLICE" boldly across the back and front, and our badges have to be prominently displayed on the front. We had a blue on blue fatal shooting that prompted this change


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Same thing our Tac does unless they are working something deeper cover. If their is more of a UC operation taking place, and if there's outside PD's assisting, we are informed of their general location for safety.
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Old 10-28-2012, 16:48   #11
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Cops should all subscribe.
I agree completely.
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Old 10-28-2012, 17:02   #12
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Force Science is a good thing to look at. I do agree on the center mass positioning.
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Old 10-28-2012, 17:39   #13
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I've seen fair number of No-Shoot targets riddled with holes where the pictured UC "cop" was holding a badge up in front of his chest in his extended hand. Shiny. Got shot.
Makes sense, but I would think there's a big difference between wearing it on neck chain in middle of chest, and holding shiny badge in hand thrusting it forward to show the approaching officers... could easily be mistaken for a weapon in hand if things are happening quickly. Shiny+hand=bad.

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Old 10-28-2012, 18:09   #14
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Again, this is all paper target association though. This is the range effect. The best way to probably study this would be role playing and possibly with sim guns with coppers from other PD's where all faces aren't known. I still have a hard time believing and correlating that what happens on a static piece of paper with a badge prop on it with the yes/no of shoot/don't shoot really translates into real life.
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Old 10-28-2012, 18:42   #15
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Originally Posted by OFCJIM40 View Post
Again, this is all paper target association though. This is the range effect. The best way to probably study this would be role playing and possibly with sim guns with coppers from other PD's where all faces aren't known. I still have a hard time believing and correlating that what happens on a static piece of paper with a badge prop on it with the yes/no of shoot/don't shoot really translates into real life.

Absolutely agree that more "real life" study can/should be done. Role play with hanging a badge on a chain at chest level vs wearing it on their belt. Alternate that with wearing, say, a cell phone on the belt at the same place. And also alternate a cell phone or something non-LE-badge, such as a "CCW badge," that some BG could wear on a chain, across the chest area, to get a momentary advantage.
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Last edited by Patchman; 10-28-2012 at 18:46..
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Old 10-28-2012, 18:46   #16
Sam Spade
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Read ODMP. This isn't a theoretical problem, or something created on the range.
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Old 10-28-2012, 19:39   #17
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Clearly this is NOT a theoretical problem. But maybe through role playing, we can (or maybe cannot) arrive at a "best industry practice." That is, balancing officer safety (paramount) vs. BGs gaining the momentary advantage.
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Last edited by Patchman; 10-28-2012 at 19:48..
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Old 10-28-2012, 19:51   #18
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We are required to wear our badges around our necks, in our left breast pocket, or pinned to our chest, at all time when in plain clothes. There is no belt carry for us, ever.
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Old 10-28-2012, 20:39   #19
Sam Spade
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We are required to wear our badges around our necks, in our left breast pocket, or pinned to our chest, at all time when in plain clothes. There is no belt carry for us, ever.
Is this a requirement when off duty, or just for plainclothes operations?
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Old 10-28-2012, 20:51   #20
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My first shoot/don't shoot (range) experience ended up with me putting a round through the center of a handheld badge.

Of course, his other hand held a gun pointed at me, so it is arguable whether I screwed up.

Hint, if uniforms show up, point the weapon at the floor, or holster is before they get too close.
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