"Bulletproof Warrior" Police Training Canceled in Santa Clara

Officer who killed Philando Castile had been trained in the program which emphasizes that hesitation can be fatal for police.


Bulletproof Warrior
Screenshot via Diamond Reynolds / Facebook

A workshop for Bay Area police officers in Santa Clara (Calif.) called "Bulletproof" was abruptly canceled last week after outcry from local activists who claimed the program "trains cops to be paranoid and to assume everyone is out to get them" and to "shoot first and ask questions later," according to East Bay Express.

Formerly titled "The Bulletproof Warrior" — a name which was shortened after complaints from a number of police departments — the program is a product of Calibre Press, and has been under particular scrutiny after it was revealed that Jeronimo Yanez, the suburban Minneapolis police officer who fatally shot Philando Castille last month, had attended one of its seminars in May 2014.

According to the New York Times:

The "Bulletproof Warrior" booklet handed out at the company's seminars addresses warfare as much as police work. A copy of the booklet was obtained by The New York Times. It has charts and graphs on "Combat Efficiency" and "Perceptual Distortions in Combat."

The booklet portrays a world of constant and increased threat to officers, despite more than two decades of declining violent crime in the United States, and the fact that the last few years have been among the safest to be an American police officer.

One section is titled "Pre-attack Indicators." It says, "Unfortunately, the will to survive is all too often trained out of the psyches of our police officers," and warns of "predators" and "adversaries" who are younger than officers and who have "been in more gunfights and violent encounters." It advises: "An attack on you is a violent act! What is the only way to overcome that violence?"

In addition to the 20 hours of "Bulletproof" training Yanez received, the Star-Tribune reports he also took a 20-hour course on "Officer Survival" from an unnamed organization in 2012. He received just two hours of "de-escalation" training through his department in May of this year.

East Bay Express also reports that one "Bulletproof" instructor is retired Army Lieutenant Colonel Dave Grossman, who runs the Killology Research Group and Warrior Science Group. His bio on the Killology website says Grossman has "made revolutionary new contributions to our understanding of killing in war, the psychological costs of war, the root causes of the current 'virus' of violent crime that is raging around the world, and the process of healing the victims of violence, in war and peace."

One of the training booklets handed out at "Bulletproof" seminars contains a section titled "Thou Shalt Not Kill?," which according to the Star-Tribune "cites Bible verses that emphasize prohibitions on murder, not all killing." Jim Glennon, a co-owner of Calibre and an instructor at the seminars, says the Bible portions are intended to help officers struggling with guilt following a fatal shooting.