Police work is an inherently dangerous business.
Intuitively, we all know that, and when one of our community’s finest places his or her own life in jeopardy to protect the innocent, we swell with vicarious pride and admiration that in a world of such selfish preoccupation there are those who are willing to answer the call, even at their own peril.
Rarely, though, do we shift our focus to those who empower heroes to be heroes… their loved ones.
When we first opened our doors, Artemis trained law enforcement. Many times we were asked by our law enforcement clients if we would be willing to provide training to their wives, girlfriends, and, yes… sometimes husbands and boyfriends. More than just general marksmanship instructions, these cops wanted their loved ones to understand the types of pressures they face daily at work.
One time, an LAPD officer and his fiancé came into Artemis together for a private training session. At the conclusion of one of the more intense scenarios, the fiancé turned to her soon-to-be husband and exclaimed, “Okay… I will never again have an argument with you on the phone while you are at work.” She understood the sheer magnitude of the stress that her soon-to-be husband could, at a moment’s notice, be facing, and she did not want to distract him or cloud his judgment when, literally, his life could be on the line.
Enrolled in our last CCW class we had the wife of a law enforcement officer who is currently living with a credible, specific threat to his safety. As a means of protecting his family, he and his wife decided that she should get a concealed carry permit.
Her ability to shoot was already present. Growing up, her family (also cops), had seen to it that, with access to firearms in their home, she would be knowledgeable in their use and safety.
Understanding the stress of a deadly force encounter, or judgmental use-of-force… well, that was another matter.
(If you have arrived here from our newsletter, continue reading here…)
One of the programs we developed a few years ago was “Date Night." This was the brain child of Sandy, and it was intended as a covert method of getting the “significant others” of cops into Artemis.
Couching a training event in the guise of a “night out,” Sandy orchestrated an evening of bonding and training. The evening begins with a three-course dinner at Artemis, followed by simulator work as couples for about a three-hour training block.
The program has become wildly successful.
Date Night participants still draw from law enforcement families, but now the ranks have grown to include CCW holders and their partners, to general firearms enthusiasts and their dates.
This broad community of participants is critically important for our law enforcement family.
Not only do the civilian clients get to interact socially with our law enforcement clients, but the partners of our law enforcement participants have an instant social connection to other civilians. This has proven an invaluable component to continual training. Spouses and significant others, after Date Night, often begin to work their way back to Artemis for continual training. This continual training is an essential aspect of what we deem our “couples therapy." When each partner becomes committed to training, and both understand the pre-incident stimuli that could trigger a use-of-force event, the confusion and second guessing by the non-trained partner is minimized.
Additionally, and frankly, more importantly in many respects, the officers begin to know that their significant other has the independent means of protecting themselves when they are not around. This “security” is as important to a healthy relationship as is communication.
Typically, once a quarter on a Saturday night we have our Date Night at Artemis. The event is open to 12 couples, and usually sells out. We highly encourage you to suggest, invite, or even deceive, your significant other…(yes… there have been incidents where the partners have thought they were going to simply see a movie)… and come in for our next Date Night!
In the meantime:
When you see cops, thank them for their service…. and understand, they have the same worries that you do, not just for their safety, or even your safety, but for the safety of their own loved ones. Often these worries can intrude on their day-to-day activities.