June 09, 2023
If you’ve ever seen footage of a close-quarters battle (CQB) direct-action assault or a law enforcement raid, it can go one of two ways: beautifully or ugly. When done right, it is a choreographed ballet of controlled lethality with overlapping fields of fire and a smoothness and swiftness of movement that even from the comfort of your couch can leave you in awe. Every bullet is accounted for. Done incorrectly and you will see loss of cohesion, bunching and uncontrolled shooting. Take the two police raid examples below: What is it that makes the difference in the outcomes? If you were to ask former U.S. Army Ranger and Tier 1 Operator "Dutch" Chris Moyer of DCM Consulting LLC, he would give you a clear and concise answer: training.
Twelve million dollars, public and private apologies and more training for a police officer were all part of a settlement received by now-17-year-old Amir Worship, as reported by CBS Chicago on Feb. 1, 2023. In 2017 when the boy was 12, police raided his home at 5 o’clock in the morning to serve a warrant for drug charges on his mother’s then-boyfriend. SWAT Officer Caleb Blood was part of a multi-jurisdictional team of almost two dozen officers. He testified that he tried to stick to his training, but he ended up shooting the boy, who was sitting on the edge of his bed. The bullet hit Worship in the knee, shattering his kneecap and permanently disabling him. At the time of the settlement, the boy had undergone five surgeries with more expected. His post-traumatic stress involves aversion to loud noises and anxiety attacks when he sees the police. Blood was fired from the SWAT team but remained on the force, despite calls from Worship’s attorney that he be fired from both.
In Fort Worth, Texas, in May of 2019, Michael Webb saw an 8-year-old girl walking down the street hand-in-hand with her mother. He snatched the girl, fought off the mother and threw her to the pavement. A neighbor’s Ring doorbell picked up the car as it sped away, the frantic mother running in the middle of the street, screaming for help. The entire community was on the lookout, and a pastor who was familiar with the family spotted Webb’s vehicle at a hotel and called it in. The responding police sergeant, Richardson Wolfe, searched Webb’s hotel room, Room 333, but did not find the girl. He dismissed the pastor’s concerns, and for that he would be fired. Fort Worth officers returned to the room two hours later, rammed in the door, arrested a naked Webb, located the girl, who had been forced to hide in a laundry basket, and whisked her away to what would probably be a lifetime of recovery. But she was alive and back with her family.
(If the names involved in these stories or the hotel room number lead you to believe they’re fake, rest assured they were reported by a variety of locally and nationally based news outlets, both left- and right-leaning.)
What, though, made the difference in the outcomes of these two instances in which combat tactics were in play? Moyer will tell you that it was training, training under the banner of good leadership. It’s the lack of training that leads to poor decision-making under intensely stressful situations.
Law enforcement departments across the U.S. can access a pool of firearms and CQB instructors who possess first-hand experience in confined-space shooting, firing from within and around vehicles, and integrating dogs into man-stopping operations. Mostly these men come from the ranks of JSOC, the Joint Special Operations Command; they are Delta, Army Rangers, Navy SEALs and others, and they’ve seen a lot in the course of fighting the twenty-year Global War on Terror (GWOT), garnering skills that could potentially save the life of a police officer or an American citizen.
It doesn’t matter where these skills come from if they can be of use to a police officer, right? Not in a political climate where what’s referred to as the “militarization of the police” can hamper community relations for law enforcement agencies both on the street and in budget negotiations with local politicians. Even if a police chief or sheriff is fully on board with hiring a combat operator to instruct his or her officers in tactical skills, choosing one who acknowledges and appreciates the differences between a military and policing mindset, between the warrior’s mission and the guardian’s, can only serve to enhance that training. The majority of law enforcement leaders Moyer encounters see themselves as not only guardians but also as warriors as they attempt to protect people in the midst of an evil world. It is the selectmen, the ombudsmen, the bureaucrats who control police budgets who view law enforcement officers as solely protectors without the need to combat real threats to either the citizenry or the officers themselves. In Moyer’s view, that perspective endangers everyone, including criminals. Well-trained officers are far less likely to succumb to an unintentional stress-induced shooting. They must be able to apply gunfighter skillsets and warrior mentalities when needed.
Moyer has been on the other side of the door, so to speak, during force-on-force training, of course. He has imagined what it would be like to be on the other side of the door if, say, a federal agency was to raid his house because he is a known possessor of firearms. He defends the protective sheepdog mentality and respects the added burden under which police officers work. Yet, he’s confident that operators can take law enforcement training to a place where shootings are far less likely to occur and when they happen, happen only when absolutely necessary.
From Playing Army to the Pinnacle of Soldiering
Moyer always knew he wanted to be in the military, from his boyhood days of playing army with his favorite plastic green 1911 with painted “wood” grips. He is the middle of three boys born to a middle-class couple who settled in Greensburg, Pennsylvania. In 1981, a year before he even graduated from high school, he’d joined the U.S. Army under the delayed entry program on course to be a tanker. The downsized, peace-time Army of the 1980s was riddled with a litany of problems, from drug abuse to apathy within the ranks. Wanting more, Moyer left after four years but stayed connected through the National Guard, ending up attached to the 19th Special Forces detachment in West Virginia. He worked his way up to supervisor at his day job at UPS, but after four-plus years he missed being a full-time soldier.
In 1991 he decided to re-enlist, this time as an infantryman, through Airborne School, and into 1st Battalion of the 75 Ranger Regiment. All had been going well. He was top of his basic and Airborne classes; he possessed experience and maturity that younger recruits lacked. When Moyer got to the Rangers, he encountered the challenges, the failures and successes, that would end up molding and propelling him into the most elite fighting force in the country, if not the world. While the myth is that Tier 1 Operators always execute their missions flawlessly and are themselves flawless, Moyer’s self-assessments are humble to the point of harsh. That is the key to an operator’s level of professionalism and perfectionism; they simply learn from setbacks and constantly strive to be better, not solely out of fierce competition, though that’s part of it, but to be dependable for those on either of side of them. The tagline for DCM Consulting is “My sword is your shield,” which sums up not only the company’s outlook but Moyer’s way of being.
Ryan Fugit of Combat Story Interviews Dutch Moyer
All of this adds up to over 31 years in the military, 26 in USSOCOM (United States Special Operations Command) as a Ranger and JSOC Operator. Moyer obtained the rank of sergeant major, conducting over 1,000 combat assaults in classified and unclassified missions over the course of 10 combat tours in Afghanistan and Iraq. He is specially trained in unconventional warfare, special reconnaissance, foreign internal defense and direct-action missions. He was also instrumental in developing how canines can be incorporated into CQB. His most notable K9 partner was Valco. By 2012, multiple back injuries and an uncommon form of gastrointestinal cancer caused him to realize that he wouldn’t be able to carry his kit for the rest of his life. In 2013, he got out of the military and put his kit back on as a GRS (Global Response Staff) officer, protecting covert agents overseas for the Central Intelligence Agency. At this point he began establishing connections within law enforcement circles and thinking of ways he could truly put down the kit and give back to the men coming up behind him. Prior to deploying to Afghanistan, a pastor told him and his teammates that they were now “agents of correction.” That phrase and concept stuck with him and would evolve into DCM Consulting LLC.
Three decades of service left their mark. Moyer is still in fighting shape, his gait incorporates a natural march, and he maintains military bearing until he gets to know you. He considers himself an amateur historian with a love of military history and its giants, enjoys electric blues, indulges in the occasional whiskey and cigar, and can deliver movie lines with the best of them, which is how he got his nickname “Dutch.” His “get to the chopper” imitations of Arnold Schwarzenegger as Dutch in “The Predator” are over-the-top and worthy of the lifelong call name. Oh, and he has a few off-roading stories to tell you. Most applicable to the tangled topic of police militarization is his faith. He thinks things through from a moral and ethical base.
Panteao Productions Profile of Courage of Dutch Moyer
Warriors As Guardians; Police As Warriors
The public harbors a misconception that the military mindset is 100 percent focused on killing, but that reveals an ignorance of actual mission sets. Moyer points to the endless examples of how men in combat must also deal with the local community and avoid indiscriminate killings. A soldier must get to know the land and the people, observe their habits and customs, and know when something is amiss through constant situational awareness using all five senses and a sixth, to boot. Even in a war, the goal is not to kill everyone, but to remove those who are targeting Americans and terrorizing their own people. Target discrimination is paramount in both military and police training, but it is a skill that those in Special Operations must master or they do not continue with The Unit. The ability to see both details and the big picture is vitally important in a life-or-death situation because your body is working against you, driving you into an increasingly narrowed focus. Where other units may try and fail, say in a hostage rescue situation, a man—no matter how good or capable—will not continue at Tier 1 level if they cannot target discriminate. All decisions must be made consciously. In other words, in extremely stressful situations, he must be able to hold fire, to not shoot. Imparting this knowledge to the next generation of men and women tasked with enforcing the laws of our nation is where Moyer knows he can be an asset.
“The rules of engagement are different,” Moyer reiterates. If someone doesn’t listen to his instructions in combat, “he gets The Good News.” If an alleged criminal or even an innocent bystander doesn’t listen to a police officer, the officer cannot simply end that person’s life unless in fear for their own life or the life of a bystander. American citizens are protected from law enforcement excesses not only by a host of acts and laws but by rights endowed upon us by Our Creator. Those rights are not granted by government and therefore cannot be taken away by government, whether that government is local, state or federal.
The policies that a police department establishes to ensure the rights of the citizenry prior to a worst-case scenario is out of Moyer’s purview, but he is well grounded in the Constitution, the Posse Comitatus Act, which prohibits the military from being used against American civilians, and the rights of those Americans, especially under the 4th Amendment, which reads: The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized. In addition, we have the castle doctrine or stand-your-ground laws, which protect a person’s right to safety and privacy in his own home and on his own property.
Those in authority and power constantly seek ways to outmaneuver such rights, which is why it’s incumbent upon the populace to be well-versed in civics. (No wonder they stopped teaching that subject in school.) Moyer has thought through the ramifications of the so-called militarization of the police, but he feels strongly that a warrior’s skillset can only benefit a police officer when he needs it the most. It’s the untrained who are more likely to act “incompetent or overly aggressive,” as he said in an interview with The Operator digital magazine.
Is There Room for a Warrior Mindset in Policing?
Even within the law-enforcement community, opinions differ on whether there is any room for a warrior mentality within policing. James Tarr a former Detroit-area police officer and current Firearms News contributor explained that in his experience, simply the name change from “peace officer” to “law enforcement” reveals a shift from protecting the community to meeting quotas that garner federal funding.
Speaking of federal funding, over 8,000 state and local law-enforcement departments take advantage of the 1033 Program to secure surplus U.S. and foreign military equipment, including weaponry. The departments need to be able to maintain whatever equipment they obtain and cover shipping arrangements. Disturbingly, the department must use whatever they order within a year, which leads some to argue that if they don’t have a reason to use a piece of military equipment, they’ll create one to justify the grant.
Tarr also expressed concern that by its very nature, in his opinion, the warrior mindset is focused on killing, and a police officer should be in the business of serving and protecting the public. Captain Mike D’Antonio of the Los Gatos-Monte Sereno Police Department in Santa Clara, California, delivered a Tedx Talk on the warrior vs. guardian mindset (linked below). He also believes a warrior mindset escalates a situation, commands people and forces compliance, whereas a guardian mindset de-escalates the situation, communicates with people, and hopefully gains compliance. Moyer takes the position that warriors do both, and that police also need to have the skill sets to do both. It’s a matter of degrees due to the different mission sets of soldiers and police.
Mike D'Antonio TEDx Talk: Warrior Vs. Guardian Mindsets in Policing
Tarr also is attuned to the optics issue of uniforms, weaponry and protective gear, as well as armored vehicles like BearCats projecting a soldier-like presence in the streets. Moyer agrees that MultiCam uniforms are not the right look for civilian law enforcement, but if a piece of equipment, or more importantly, extensive training, can make a police officer safer and more confident in his abilities, he will be less likely, not more, to engage in avoidable shootings. “Every decision must be made consciously,” said Moyer, who emphasizes self-control and being purposeful in his various training courses for police, military and government personnel. He explains both the physical and psychological reactions that happen in the human body during combat or combat-like situation and how more training can minimize if not eliminate unnecessary discharges of a firearm, such as empathy shootings where an officer fires because his partner has, even if he is unsure of the target.
Richard Nance is a police sergeant, former SWAT team leader and contributing writer for Outdoor Sportsman Group brands, such as Guns & Ammo. When asked his opinion on operators sharing their skillsets with police, he said, “That type of training is absolutely needed.” He explained that officers are dealing with children one minute and may be in a shootout the next. It’s far easier to bring oneself up to an operator-type level of police work if you’ve been exposed to extensive training than if you lack the knowledge and confidence to perform such duties. Both the ability to interact with the community and to engage armed and lethal criminals is part of being a police officer.
Moyer points to the military’s Find Fix Finish approach. You Find the enemy and answer the who, what, when, where, why and how questions. In the Fix stage, you verify that what you were zeroing in on during the Find phase is accurate. If you can triangulate the enemy, you can “impose your will,” “give him The Good News” or somehow incapacitate him to remove him from the battlefield. Moyer emphasizes that police policies must be top notch in the Find and Fix departments. “It can’t be Finish all the time.” And that right there is what sets him apart from some of his peers.
Moyer tips his hat to police officers. He knows that they have a harder job than he did as an operator. If an enemy combatant pointed a weapon at him, the decision-making process was simplified, but if a police officer is being threatened, it could well be that the officer knows the person threatening him and knows his family. If the officer fires on that person, he could possibly kill a member of a community that he’s more than likely a part of, someone who is also a fellow American citizen. As Moyer puts it, “it hurts my heart” when officers don’t have warrior training for those rare but vital moments when they really need it. He’s grateful for every law enforcement department he’s had the chance to work with and only hopes that when the worst-case scenario arises, those officers will have the discipline and skills to shoot only at the correct target, or to not shoot at all. And as Moyer says at the end of most of his training modules, “Make sense? Of course it does.”
Aside from the website, you can follow Dutch on Instagram.