As I prepare my duffel to fly out of town tomorrow, I began to think about something; tomorrow will be one of the few times I place myself in a situation, and an environment, unarmed. I then decided that unarmed does not mean unprepared. We are law enforcement officers, after all, we adapt and overcome better than anyone else is society (at least we are expected to). During the duty day we rely on a plethora of less lethal items to accomplish our goals. One of the biggest tools we utilize and sometimes forget, is our situational awareness.
Traveling through an international airport makes it difficult for me to carry my duty weapon concealed, as I am usually doing throughout any off-duty day. I have not taken the law enforcement officer flying armed course, so carrying a weapon on a plane is out of the question completely. This is where my situational awareness will be heightened and will be my main tool for everyday survival. I will not say that I let down my guard when I am carrying my weapon. In fact, I would say my situational awareness is heightened when I am carrying my weapon. What I am saying, is that in different situations, we must re-direct and adapt our situational awareness to cater to our current environment.
Instead of focusing on where the threat is and what position would give you the best opportunity to return fire, the focus must lie in where the threat may be and which position would provide long term cover AND concealment. In these situations where we find ourselves in an emergency and unarmed, we need to be prepared to seek longer-term cover and concealment for physical protection. We are unable to be effective from long range, and therefore we need to fall into the defensive role. When and IF you are able to take an offensive, you must be prepared to be outmanned and out gunned (seeing as that you are unarmed).
Being in the defensive in an unarmed situation is not the wrong thing to do at all. You, as a law enforcement officer, are much more valuable in this situation with close, hand-to-hand combat. Preserve yourself until you are able to utilize the tools you have, your hands; you are helping everyone by doing this. Your verbal skills and your physical, close combat skills, are much more valuable in these predicaments.
The most important thing is to never lose your situational awareness. Always be prepared to take on some role of offense and defense in an emergency situation, and know which of the two is going to benefit the whole. Be the Sheepdog, hunt the wolf, and protect the sheep.