“Warrior Training” at North Little Rock PD

Wednesday, May 7th, 2008

Via the comments section, here’s an troubling notice posted at the website of the Arkansas Tactical Officers Association:

“Warrior Mindset” is a class being offered by the North Little Rock Police Department. Taught by Dr. Jason Winkle, It is an opportunity to train with one of the most sought after tactical trainers in the country. Class includes topics (but is not limited to topics) on fear management, decision making, emotional survival, physical fitness as they pertain to law enforcement officers. Class is designed for all officers from patrol to investigations to SWAT. This class is limited to law enforcement and military only.

I’m afraid this intermingling of domestic police and military is well beyond the point of no return. This looks to be a class that’s taught to police departments all over the country, though the notice in North Little Rock is timely, given today’s news.

We need a hell of a lot less of the “warrior mindset” in our police departments. In far too many communities, this “us versus them stuff” has poisoned the relationship between police and the people the serve. And it fosters the kind of mentality that leads to cases like Tracy Ingle’s.

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25 Responses to ““Warrior Training” at North Little Rock PD”

  1. #1 |  CitizenNothing | 

    Some insurrectionist training for us “Citizen Nothings” would be a healthy counter to this increasingly common threat….

  2. #2 |  Dave Krueger | 

    I noticed that the Military Channel has introduced a lot of cop shows to it’s programming. The understanding that the military and police have different missions has vanished. I don’t think that distinction, once lost, is retrievable.

  3. #3 |  Chris in AL | 

    Soon they will be offering psych counseling classes like “How to not let killing an innocent woman get you down” and “How to convince yourself they’re not really people”

  4. #4 |  Andrew Williams | 

    To any peace officers who are reading this–what Radley said. The more like the military police become, the less citizens will trust them.

    “A policeman’s job is only easy in a police state.”–Orson Welles

  5. #5 |  maxnnr | 

    Cops make really bad soldiers.
    Soldiers make mediocre cops.
    Reason is: cops have very little discipline or self control.

  6. #6 |  Observant Bystander | 

    Earlier, you linked to an interview with Danny Bradley, who is the chief of the North Little Rock Police Department. He said,

    “Bradley said he cringes a bit when he hears politicians talk about ‘the war on drugs,’ because it assumes that police officers are soldiers, and citizens are the enemy. Bradley said that since he became chief, he has worked to remove the militaristic trappings of the NLRPD. . . . ‘I don’t want my officers out there thinking they’re soldiers against the enemy. That’s not what we’re about.'”

    Does he approve of his officers signing up for this course? I don’t see how he could, given this statement.


  7. #7 |  Jeff | 

    Radley, I agree with you completely when you write about police forces. And warrior training is a very unfortunate name.

    But are these classes really a problem “fear management, decision making, emotional survival, physical fitness ?”

  8. #8 |  Observant Bystander | 

    I should have said, does Bradley approve of his own department offering this class?

  9. #9 |  UCrawford | 


    Actually, I’ve known several policemen who were very good soldiers and plenty of soldiers who would make really bad cops. In fact, you could make the argument that a large part of the reason Iraq became such a mess was because when we took control we gave the people soldiers for security when what they really needed was cops. The careers aren’t the same and neither group is particularly well-suited to do the other’s job (or their own) without proper training, guidance and leadership. That’s why the militarization of the police forces doesn’t work…because it’s not emphasizing the skills police need to do their jobs effectively, not because police aren’t capable of becoming soldiers.

  10. #10 |  leTerrassier | 

    I should start teaching a course entitled “The Terrorist mindset” to all non police and military, and see how they like it. Because, the truth is, they’re teaching someone who uses deadly weapons in dealing with the general public that they should have the mindset of a professional killer- and that is a deadly threat to us all. It’s like teaching a doberman pincher to attack all strangers on sight, and then letting the thing run free in an elementary school. What do they expect will happen? I’ve been reading a bit of R.J. Rummel’s work lately, and he points out that, in almost all cases, autocracy leads directly to democide and furthering the development of autocracy also furthers the development of the governing bodies mindset- that is, to say, their warrior mindset- that killing, starving, torturing, and more are perfectly acceptable means to furthering the states ends. This mindset which empowered Hitler and Stalin and Mao, and it’s this mindset we know want to bring to America? This will only end in disaster. Disaster for Americans, and disaster for the whole world.

  11. #11 |  Max D. | 

    You might be attributing more military to the term than it warrants. In some circles–particularly some non-police circles–being a warrior is a good thing. People who have taken it upon themselves to carry concealed weapons to protect themselves and their families, and take a firm stand against terrorism (whether by a foreign gov’t or our own), often call themselves warriors. Or sheepdogs. The alternative is to be, of course, a sheep.

    There are books about/for “Christian warriors,” and one called “Sharpening the Warrior’s Edge.” Mostly it’s about optimizing your strengths and performing to your potential. Is it bad because it has a pseudo-military connotation?

    I’m not a cop, but I’m a warrior.

  12. #12 |  Radley Balko | 

    #11 — The guy teaching the course has a military background, and gives the same course to military units. The course flat-out says its open to police or military. And it’s offered not just to SWAT teams, but to patrol officers and investigating officers.

    I’d call that a troubling mix of police and military.

  13. #13 |  DJMoore | 

    My objection is to “This class is limited to law enforcement and military only”.

    See Robert Peel’s Seventh Principle of Policing: “Police, at all times, should maintain a relationship with the public that gives reality to the historic tradition that the police are the public and the public are the police; the police being only members of the public who are paid to give full-time attention to duties which are incumbent on every citizen in the interests of community welfare and existence.”

    I have absolutely no problem with a course teaching the “warrior mindset” as it seems to be defined here; it addresses problems that strike me as being common to anyone who might have to use deadly force to defend themselves, their families, or their communities.

    However, that’s all of us, every single one of us. This course seeks to create a special social and political class of “Only Ones” who are authorized to use deadly force against all the rest of us. The rest of us, who are barred from the course, are assumed to lack the judgment needed to make life-and-death decisions under attack, even with training.

    No good.

  14. #14 |  Blue | 

    You know the Third Amendment is very specific…

    No Soldier shall, in time of peace be quartered in any house, without the consent of the Owner, nor in time of war, but in a manner to be prescribed by law.

    … perhaps the nation’s founders didn’t have the foresight to imagine swat teams in battledress with MP5 automatic assault rifles, flash-bang grenades, attack dogs, riot shields, armored personnel carriers. We’ve completely dismissed the intent of this Amendment and I think most people consider it to be outmoded and irrelevant. Why do so many law-and-order types think that the constitution stops at the 2nd Amendment?

  15. #15 |  Wayne | 

    Maybe the class is limited to law enforcement and military so that murderers, rapists, and other criminals (and terrorists) can’t learn the secrets to combating law enforcement and military tactics. Naaaaaah. It’s limited to law enforcement and military so non-violent drug offenders, the poor, immigrants, political dissidents, journalists, and those of us unwilling to turn over our guns don’t learn the secrets to combating such tactics.

  16. #16 |  Jim Collins | 

    When your local Police tell you that they are sending an officer over to move in to your house, with you, without your concent then you can claim a Third Amendment violation.

  17. #17 |  Commander William Adama | 

    There’s a reason you separate military and the police. One fights the enemies of the state, the other serves and protects the people. When the military becomes both, then the enemies of the state tend to become the people.

  18. #18 |  Pat Rogers | 

    There is nothing new about this.

    U.S. private and government sniper training centers indoctrinate shooters into “DEHUMANIZING” a target so that the shooter can maintain a better mental health about their career choice.

    As the Philadelphia Commissioner of Police shouted over a bull horn to the barricaded in their home MOVE group on Mothers Day 1985,

    “This is America, come out with your hands up!”

    The police then initiated an assault that expended ten thousand rounds and burned down sixty-one row homes and killed eleven people including five children.

    “This is America, come out with your hands up!”

  19. #19 |  Red Green | 

    “this is America,come out with your hands up! ” Now a phrase heard the world over. Another Kent State occurrance is surely on the horizon. Team America, fuck yeah!.

  20. #20 |  OMFG!!! « Curtis Lowe | 

    […] why people are losing respect for them?  From no-knock warrants, to training police to have a “Warrior Mindset,” (WTF?) to now, being charged with “assault with a deadly […]

  21. #21 |  Rad Geek People’s Daily 2008-05-12 – No, seriously, I could swear the water in this pot is getting a little hotter…. (#2) | 

    […] Here’s Radley Balko on the Arkansas tactical officers’ class (read the whole thing): […]

  22. #22 |  Jon H | 

    “I’m not a cop, but I’m a warrior.”

    No you’re not, you cowardly piece of shit.

  23. #23 |  Rad Geek People’s Daily 2008-09-19 – No, seriously, I could swear the water in this pot is getting a little hotter… (#6) | 

    […] Radley Balko said back in May, in response to another […]

  24. #24 |  Gary | 

    There are some cops who are warriors, Most are not. A warrior practices his trade hand to hand, arrest procedures firearms training and is mentally prepared to act in the . Its not a matter of Us Vs Them. Real warriors stand in the breach to protect the citizens. Warriors do not fear the armed citizenry but encourage it. As a citizen I love my Country and fear my government.

  25. #25 |  Gary | 

    I think most SWAT Officers were failed special forces types. Or as we used to call them wannabees or remmington Raiders. Office Poges who only saw combat on TV. They get off on strutting around in there combat gear. Some are the real thing but they are few and far between. It seems that most have somthing to prove to themselfs you know the jocks whos glory days wer in High School