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Replicating Adverse Dynamics

Any discussion about changing an established training platform like simulation training should begin with a clear discussion of what the change is, then how to make the change and finally, why the change should occur. In this case, the change is to how officers are to interact effectively within a skeptical society. Then, through the application of focused training, rebuild societies diminishing public trust of law enforcement.  


Replicating Adverse Dynamics

ReplicatingAdverse Dynamics is an updated form of simulation training. In reality, most simulation training is inconsistent, unorganized, misunderstood, and perhaps abused. In contrast, Replicating Adverse Dynamics is structured, consistent, and organized. The RAD method works to eliminate participant fear and abuse through obvious structure, multi-level inter-agency understanding, the placement of participant well-being and development as the focus of the training, and by expanding instructor knowledge and accountability in scenario-based exercises.

This simulation training philosophy is built around the premise that recruits and line officers currently required to participate in simulation training do not learn from most of those efforts because they do not believe they are the focus of that effort. Most participants don’t completely trust those executing the exercises. Line officers question the trainer’s personal motivations, the training intent, analysis of need, the overall supervisory insight, or actual administrative involvement of the exercises.

The RAD philosophy is, ‘If your officers don’t trust you instructors, you can’t train them.’ The RAD method strives to end the era of ‘no-win’ and ‘sandlot’ simulations that have undermined this entire training format for decades. RAD focuses its efforts on ending the ‘fear the gear’ mentality that many of our officers currently have. It also commits itself to eliminating ‘instructor ego’ from its structured simulation training effort.


Six Initial Drills

Replicating Adverse Dynamics is a method of simulation training that is overtly participant focused. It begins with a series of well-established simulation training drills that convey concepts like shadow, prop and partner training experiences while progressing to more complex drills that add variables to the participant’s ‘toolbox’ like movement, positioning, and the navigation of real environments.

These initial six steps or the drill-based portion of the RAD methodology were first documented over 20 years ago by law enforcement trainer Gary Klugiewicz, the founder of Active Countermeasures Instructional Systems (ACMi) and simulation training pioneer with RedMan Training Gear. The RAD method builds on his established foundational concepts by enhancing his scenario-based ‘High Level’ of simulation training.

Once the initial six simulation drill levels are covered with participants, eight interactive scenarios replicating common experiences officers face on a daily basis can begin. These scenario-based exercises allow participants to communicate, navigate, and even mediate successful conclusions to each choreographed training event. Communication skills, problem solving, and ethics are the focus of this level. Replicating these interactive scenarios in a consistent manner allows instructors to critique, evaluate, and even remediate participant officers in an effort to create more productive community and enforcement interactions.


Subject Control

Once these initial eight scenarios are covered, RAD then proceeds on to replicating more adverse scenarios. The next step consists of six scenarios involving subject control issues like those necessary to effect control of individuals that are non-compliant, resisting lawful arrest, or attempting to take flight from lawful police custody. These first two scenario-based levels are vitally important, because this is where many a situation has spun out of control when handled improperly. There is nothing wrong with training that is proportionate to the frequency of on-duty occurrence or training being tempered with the reality of being ‘likely’ to occur.

Once we have thoroughly covered the interactive and subject control scenario levels, we progress on to replicating more adverse dynamics like those involving personal safety issues for officers. Though rare, at some point in an officer’s career they are likely to face some extreme situations

that could compromise their personal safety. Scenarios that place an officer’s personal safety in question are necessary but should be addressed with consideration for total training time allotted by management.

The final stage of Replicating Adverse Dynamics is the use of firearms scenarios to identify participant knowledge of use appropriateness and decision-making ability. These scenarios are also used to reinforce the tactical and technical use, policies and practices of the agency, but they are not used to evaluate shot placement.

The RAD Method begins its scenario-based training level with eight interactive scenarios, then six subject control scenarios, four personal safety scenarios, and finally two firearms use scenarios. This escalating scenario intensity and de-escalating frequency (8,6,4,2) in training is done to reflect a trainee’s actual likelihood of on-duty occurrence. Many departments spend disproportionate amounts of valuable training time on only the most extreme possibilities that an officer may face in his/her career, ignoring the most frequent daily contacts.


Paradigm Shift

The next step in this process is convincing the instructors within a department of the need for some minor shifts that can have major results. Agency instructors should receive a clearly defined direction through a structure and method that systematically rebuilds the trust of line officers and recruits. Trainers should adjust their focus to the training needs of participant officers more than their own agendas. The ‘instructor ego’ must be suppressed and replaced with a primary focus on the overall welfare and success of line officers and recruits in training.

Another focal shift should occur with regard to training emphasis. In other words, we should be training for the frequencies of on-duty occurrence, as opposed to spending disproportionate amounts of valuable training time and resources on the most extreme and rare possibilities of on-duty occurrence. These shifts in instructional focus make good sense, build stronger training divisions, and are absolutely necessary for cultural evolution to be successful.

On the administrative end, supervisors simply must be more involved in the overall understanding and direction of the agency’s simulation training effort. Management should have an intimate understanding of scenario-based instruction, simulation training fundamentals, and instructor level expectations and accountability.

Administrative accountability should extend to a commitment in reducing simulation training injuries and the continuous risk assessment of common training departmental practices. Instructors should be fully aware that their supervisors and administrators know and understand what is needed, and how replicating adverse dynamics training is to be accomplished within the agency.


Why Is This Change Important?

The communities we serve and protect are not the same as they were in the past, and they are no longer willing to presume your line officers are competent or capable of performing their jobs just because they have a badge. Erosion of the public’s trust in our sworn guardians of social order is getting worse with every viral video mishap and unjustifiable use of force.

Undertrained, inappropriately trained, and distrustful officers who avoid training are using excessive force regularly to govern their jurisdictions, and it is not always their fault. They have become accustomed to fast tracking excess in force response, because they lack confidence in the training they should possess. Every mistake is immediately documented and digitally transmitted worldwide to an audience quick to criticize and judge.

Accountability in training must be the format for change. If we fail to acknowledge this, there will be consequences; in fact, some of these consequences are currently manifesting before our eyes. We must equally commit to rebuilding the trust our recruits and line officers once had in our abilities as trainers and the curriculums we advance.


Lawrence N. Nadeau is a United States Marine (1980-84), retired police officer, a senior consultant to RedMan Training Gear, an ILEETA charter member and veteran law enforcement trainer with over 30 years of experience. He may be reached at

Published in Law and Order, Feb 2016

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