My husband told me this morning that last night at lineup they had a quick training that dealt with officer safety. The topic was police families as targets. Apparently there are people who are following officers home, getting an eye on their families and then waiting for the officer to leave again so that the families are left unprotected.
How many of my fellow wives and mothers feel like they are unprotected in their spouse's absence? I can honestly say that I don't anymore but there was a time when I would have been the world's easiest victim. Before becoming a LEO (Law Enforcement Officer) family, I had only a mild clue about the evils of the world and absolutely no clue what it meant to be tactically sound. Over time I have learned that the world is not full of rainbows and unicorns. There are evil people out there that delight in doing evil things and protecting my children has become my number one priority.
We are pretty cautious about certain things. The kids never wear clothing that says "My Daddy can Arrest Your Daddy" or "Cop's Kid" or anything else. We don't talk about his job to anyone except those closest to us and we never allow our kids to be photographed or video taped for anything public that would have their name or other identifying information on it. I don't get them monogrammed bags and if they wear a baseball jersey with their name on it they are either at school or at baseball game where everyone knows their names already anyway. They are only allowed outside alone when they are together and I generally send the dog out as back up...and we live in a pretty "safe" area. I use quotes because I believe safe is relative.
Let's not forget the alarm system, the dog and the self defense items available in our home. I read something once in a book that said you should never be more than arm's length from something that could be used to defend yourself. That doesn't mean your house should be covered in cold steel. There are many other items that can be useful depending on where you are in the house. You just need to have a plan. Unfortunately home invasions have been increasing in number and cop's families are being targeted in many cities.
Do you lock your doors even when you are in the house? We do. It only takes a second for someone to try the knob and see that it's unlocked. Before you know it, they are in your home and you are at a tactical disadvantage. Caught with your proverbial pants down, so to speak. Make them work for it. If they want in that badly, let them kick the door in while you grab your favorite weapon of defense and dial 911. I am not afraid to defend my home and children. God help an intruder if they get past the alarm and the dog because I will do what it takes to protect us.
How do you park your car? Always, always, always back your car into the driveway. My husband starting insisting on this when he first got on the job and I joked him about it but I always do it. In a tactical situation- a quick escape for any of a myriad of reasons such as an intruder, a weather event or whatever- it is so much easier to just jump in the car and pull out rather than have to back up and re-situate. In those lost seconds, anything can happen. Give yourself the advantage, take the extra time to park nose out and be ready for anything. I so strongly believe this that I do it at the supermarket, the baseball field and even at work. In fact, since I started this at work, several of my colleagues have followed suit. My girlfriend and I call it tactical parking.
One of the first things my husband did when we moved in to our house is put up security lighting. Our house is lit up like a landing strip on any given night. Dark houses beg to be invaded. The second thing he did was pull up all the shrubs in front of the long wrap around porch. Large and overgrown, the shrubs provided a great hideaway for an attacker. We now grow a variety of perennial flowers in front of the porch. Tall and full enough to look pretty but not nearly enough to hide a human.
When I was in college in the early 90's there was a rash of coed attacks on college campuses. I saw a television show about ways a woman could defend herself against an attacker. My favorite, and I still do it probably for my own piece of mind more than anything, is to line your keys on your keychain up with your fingers. Stick each key between two fingers and make a fist. It won't do a ton of damage when you hit someone but it will buy you a precious few seconds. Other handy tips were- box his ears, poke his eyes or nail him in the groin. Of course, the best defensive action is prevention. Don't be a victim. Be aware of your surroundings- the hubby calls this situational awareness. Park in lighted areas, don't text and walk, stay off the phone, watch the people around you. If you have it in you, take a self defense class. The academy where my kids took Tae Kwon Do for several years offers them often- just for women. If you want more information, message me.
I am sure some of you laughed when you read the title of this blog. I smile every time I look at that row of cars tactically parked in the lot at work. It's a funny concept for a non military or non police person. Most people don't do threat assessments everywhere they go but it would definitely benefit every last one of us to be aware of our surroundings and keep an eye on that guy hanging out amid the parked cars in the dark. The text messages can wait until you are safely locked in your vehicle and it only takes two seconds to lock the house after entering. Take care not to become a target.
Trust your gut. If something feels wrong or unsafe, that's your instincts kicking in. Hang out at the mall a few extra minutes to avoid the guy in the parking lot or ask someone to walk with you to your car if you leave work late. All the tactics and self defense in the world aren't as good as listening to your instincts and avoiding a potentially dangerous situation.