It is not a cereal. It is not a fancy noodle included in our always-excellent-snack-selection carefully prepared by Deputy Roberta Barker (although she does tell us we are having a phenomenal Italian dinner for graduation compliments of BACI!). No, in fact OODA-LOOP is the same thought process everyone goes through. The only difference is our IRCSO men and women go through rigorous training which helps them speed through their OODA-LOOP process in the blink of an eye when faced with crisis decision making.
The very last session of Citizen's Academy (sniffle sniffle) was superbly presented by Deputy Miguel Cruz and Sgt. William Luther. OODA-LOOP, Deputy Cruz explained, stands for Observe, Orient, Decide and Act.
"In all of our training, we interject realism," he says. "We use realistic-based training in order to re-create any situation we might face. By giving them a real life emotional reference to a situation, it makes it easier to go through our thought processes and respond accordingly under extreme stress. In training, we re-create environments we will experience on the streets and thus increase the speed of our OODA-LOOPS so we make proper decisions and go home safely to our families. That is the main thing. We cannot act in a defensive manner. We are there to 'win' every confrontation so we go home to our families. You can have a survival mindset and get lucky, but if you have a winning mindset, you will go home at the end of the crisis."
To drive this home to us - and create an emotional reference to the lessons - a couple of different people holding either weapons or water bottles burst into the room unannounced. Deputy Cruz instructed us the first thing we should do is look at their hands as we can see if they are holding a weapon and what kind it is, and then to scan their body and focus on their center mass. All the while we are going through our OODA-LOOP to decide how to respond - either with or without force.
"Our brains can only process one thought at a time and it goes through this loop," he says. "When I am out on a scene, I have to worry about everything and the bad guy only has to worry about me. Therefore I try to create a state of 'panic' or fear or confusion for that perpetrator in between the Orient and Decide stages of their OODA-LOOP. I can do this by asking questions, like 'why are you getting upset?' Anything to disrupt their train of thought to keep them from Acting."
Deputy Cruz goes on to show us examples of how they are trained to think and respond, emphasizing that our two best tools are our brains and our mouths, "not our bat belts!"
Throughout the session, we saw video of combat training, weapons training and two lucky class members got to shoot a real Taser. DON'T TAZE ME BRO! (sorry - I couldn't resist).
Here are some photos of the Taser demonstration:
Here Deputy Cruz demonstrates a new technique to get a perpetrator to remove their hands from underneath their bodies. Just a simple tweak on a specific part of the leg does the trick! Of course everyone in training must take turns on both the top and bottom positions so they can get that emotional reference.
Here are some photos I took during the videos of weapons training:
... and combat training:
Since technically we still have one more session - GRADUATION - I won't say goodbye yet to Citizen's Academy. See you here next week.
I am an official, fully vetted volunteer with the Indian River County Sheriff's Office (Citizen's Academy, background checks, fingerprinted, etc.). Since my expertise is photo-journalism, producing these stories is one way I give back to my community.
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