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Survival Skills

Law Enforcement Training for Safety and Survival (LETSS) Program

Survival Skills

Each year, U.S. law enforcement officers at the local, state, and federal level are killed or wounded in the line of duty. Even seemingly routine arrest warrant situations or domestic disturbance calls can turn deadly in an instant.

Officers must develope the skills and mindset required to quickly identify and handle critical situations in high risk environments. With the safety of all officers in mind, the FBI designed its Law Enforcement Training for Safety and Survival (LETSS) Program in 1992. Since then, we’ve trained more than 6,000 FBI task force members, police officers, and international law enforcement personnel…at the FBI Academy in Quantico, Virginia, regionally throughout the U.S., and internationally.

Motor vehicle arrest simulation

About the training
The LETSS tactical training instills and develops safety and survival skills in law enforcement officers. Topics addressed include mental and physical preparation, arrest planning, ballistic shield deployment, low light operations, and the use of motor vehicles in arrest situations. Basic survival techniques taught include hallway and stairway movement, room entry, clearing techniques, subject control, and handgun skills.

The LETSS staff includes FBI agents and former military or police officers with an average of 20 years-on-the-job experience. These highly trained professionals are certified as FBI instructors in firearms, Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT), defensive tactics, and a variety of other disciplines.

The Overseas Survival Awareness Program
In a related program, the FBI was certified in 2004 by the U.S. State Department to manage the Overseas Survival Awareness Program. When American personnel travel overseas on official U.S. government  business for longer than 30 days, they are required to complete this mandatory security training prior to leaving the U.S. This residential program held at the FBI Academy covers such topics as defensive tactics, first aid, and personnel and facility security awareness, and prepares these individuals (and spouses if traveling with them) to assess and act should a critical situation arise. Participants also receive briefings from the State Department, FBI Critical Incident Response Group, FBI Laboratory, and others. They also take part in hands-on driving training at the Tactical Emergency Vehicle Operations Center (TEVOC).