AMU Emergency Management Law Enforcement Public Safety

The Tactical Coffee Cup: The Value of Real-Life Training Scenarios

Many law enforcement agencies provide real-world simulation training for their officers. Recently, American Military University (AMU) heard from one law enforcement agency in Tennessee about a training simulation program that uses AMU gear as a prop to further test their officer’s response.

The Scenario
This agency uses a Ti Training simulator, which gives officers an opportunity to train in a number of scenarios using various weapon systems. One of these scenarios begins with an officer in a convenience store, waiting in line alongside other customers to pay for a cup of coffee. A person enters from the rear of the store and goes behind the counter where a store clerk is working at the register. The subject pulls a sawed-off shotgun and engages the clerk and then the officer in a gun battle.

The (Sometimes Entertaining) Outcome

This "tactical coffee cup" has taken a lot of abuse helping to train police officers.
This “tactical coffee cup” has taken a lot of abuse helping to train police officers.

During this scenario, officers are given an AMU travel cup to hold as they wait in line. When the shooter opens fire, the majority of officers will drop or throw the cup and engage the shooter.

However, a few use what they have come to call the “Tactical Coffee Cup.” These officers go into a combat stance with their handgun to fire at the bad guy with the cup still firmly in their weak hand.

To make this scenario even more real, the agency uses role players to act as frightened customers who interact with the officers during the scene. This has led to some interesting tactics:

  • When a role player screamed on the ground while holding the officer’s leg, one officer held his Glock on target with his strong hand, and beat the role player with the cup in his weak hand.
  • Another officer threw the cup at the role player, striking him in the head.
  • A few officers will start out with the cup in their strong hands and cannot figure out why they cannot draw the pistol from the holster. It’s because the cup is still in their hands!

The trainer’s question to officers who make the mistake of not dropping the cup is:

“Is the Tactical Coffee Cup cover or concealment?”

AMU is proud to know our cups are helping to train officers to stay safe!

Leischen Kranick is a Managing Editor at AMU Edge. She has 15 years of experience writing articles and producing podcasts on topics relevant to law enforcement, fire services, emergency management, private security, and national security.

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