Law enforcement monitors large crowd from bridge during daytime protest, exemplifying strategic situational awareness with RATT surveillance.

Enhance Your Law Enforcement Strategy with These 6 Situational Awareness Tips

Law enforcement officers are specifically trained in being aware of their surroundings; taking notice of suspicious people and activities helps save lives.

A heightened sense of spatial and situational awareness is crucial for protecting both law enforcement officers and the general public; however, it’s not always easy to effectively survey and scan a large area filled with people, distractions, and obstacles.

Having the right equipment in place can be the difference between preventing a tragedy and missing the warning signs. The right tools also allow law enforcement to remain in control of potentially dangerous situations. 

In this article, we’ll cover six strategies for improving situational awareness so your team remains safe and on top of their game. 

What is Situational Awareness?

Let’s start by briefly explaining what situational awareness is and why it’s important to law enforcement safety.

Situational awareness is being aware of your surroundings and how they relate to you. Surveying the surrounding area, people, and obstacles while strategizing your next move are vital skills in remaining safe and in control of any situation. 

This is especially important in large crowds or outdoor events where visibility is difficult. 

That’s why utilizing the right equipment, like mobile surveillance, remote monitoring and telescoping towers, is crucial to officer safety and efficiency. 

6 Ways to Improve Situational Awareness

When there’s potential danger on the ground, you need eyes in the sky. The ability to see beyond your normal vantage point is an important part of increasing situational awareness. 

Here’s how to do it.

1. Identify Objects and People Around You

The first, and most important, aspect of situational awareness is (as the name suggests) being aware of your surroundings. That means noticing things that other people may overlook. 

When entering a new environment, identify every object around you. This includes walls, doors, barriers, furniture, and other potential obstacles. 

Having a strong sense of your surroundings gives you the ability to make quick decisions and use your environment to your advantage in case of emergency. 

The RATT’s telescopic mast gives your team a unique view of the entire surrounding area, regardless of the terrain or position. Our mast elevates between 30 and 50 feet, providing a panoramic view of a large area. 

This versatile surveillance tool accommodates cameras, lights, or antennas to provide whatever support your team needs in a given situation. 

It’s also compatible with a 2″x2″ hitch on any vehicle and easily deployed — no extensive training required!

2. Limit Distractions

Life can change in a split second. All it takes is a single moment of complacency for a situation to get out of control. 

In order to increase your situational awareness, you need to limit distractions. There are actually four stages of awareness including relaxed, relaxed awareness, anxiousness, and being in the middle of a situation.

The ideal state for law enforcement is relaxed awareness. In this state, you’re not anxious but you’re also aware of your surroundings and alert enough to act.

3. Make Predictions

Just being aware of your surroundings isn’t enough. You need a keen eye for predicting what might happen next.

Did you notice an individual enter the room, put down a briefcase, and exit without it? This is a sign that the case might contain something dangerous. 

Is there a party-goer who’s being disorderly? Their behavior might get out of control and put others in danger.

Noticing them doesn’t mean having to act immediately, but it does mean being prepared if you need to.

What if these dangers are out of your direct field of vision? This is where live-stream surveillance equipment comes into play.

Deploying The RATT equipped with live-streaming video technology gives officers a unique view of potential risks hundreds of feet away. 

Whoever’s operating the surveillance equipment can communicate potential dangers to the officers on the ground in real-time. This keeps law enforcement in control of the situation and able to safely and efficiently respond. 

You can also deploy The RATT in a matter of minutes, making it the ideal tool for getting a handle on a dangerous situation, fast.

4. Locate Entry and Exit Points

There are two important locations to observe at any event or gathering — the entrance and the exit. 

Remember, situational awareness is about observing your surroundings in relation to you.

When someone enters your environment, it changes. It also changes when they exit. You need to mentally take note of these shifts in your surroundings.

While it’s nearly impossible to observe every single person who arrives or leaves a large-scale event, knowing where these entry and exit points are is vital for making quick decisions and identifying potential threats.

5. Remain Vigilant

Complacency kills. This is a common mentality in law enforcement and military services.

The minute you stop paying attention and let your guard down, you lose the ability to predict danger. Remaining vigilant means maintaining mental sharpness and awareness, regardless of the situation.

While this may sound mentally exhausting, in time, it’ll become second nature. Try to stay in that state of relaxed awareness we mentioned earlier.

Having the right equipment on-hand is another way to remain vigilant and compensate for human error. Live-stream video, panoramic camera views, and proper lighting help teams stay alert and safe.

6. Know Your Habits and Follow Your Gut

Sometimes, it comes down to gut instincts. If something doesn’t feel right about a certain situation, it’s probably not.

People’s mannerisms and body language are two indicators of a potential threat. Oversized crowds and an energetic atmosphere can sometimes get out of control.

Listen to your gut when considering situational awareness and don’t be afraid to act on a hunch in a safe and practical way.

You also need to be honest with yourself about your habits and potential shortcomings so you can compensate where needed.

Improve Your Situational Awareness and Safety

Being aware of your surroundings could be the difference between life and death.

While not every situation is life-threatening, law enforcement officers must always be alert and ready to act in case of danger or emergency.

The RATT can help improve situational awareness and provide a unique vantage point of your surroundings. Compatible with a wide range of equipment and accessories, this is a versatile tool for increasing visibility and safety.

Its ease of use is just one feature that makes The RATT a go-to telescoping tower for law enforcement and emergency services. 

Contact us today for more information on how this unique portable tower can change the way you conduct operations. 

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