Police During SHTF Events: Preparedness considerations when dealing with Law Enforcement During Disasters?

During an extreme total collapse scenario, the kind of event where life as we know it has completely changed, it is very likely that law enforcement and emergency responders will be nonexistent. When things go bad (empty grocery stores, no utilities, mass riots, etc.) you are more than likely going to have to fend for yourself.

While those of us that are prepared for these situations understand the threats, there are some things that are often overlooked. When it comes to law enforcement during a SHTF event, there are a couple of things that you need to consider.

You need to be able to defend yourself.

During extreme emergency situations, the lunatics of the world are going to be roaming the streets looking for easy victims to target.  If you’re serious about survival, you need to train yourself to defend against a violent attack. This means arming yourself with not only weapons, but knowledge and self defense skills as well. You simply can’t count on calling 911 during times of crisis; you must be able to defend yourself.

Your preps will be targeted, possibly by law enforcement.

FBI Raid

If the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina taught us anything, it showed us that even the police might be out to take your preps and firearms.  During the chaos of Katrina, military and local police confiscated guns, forced people to evacuate without their emergency supplies, and even looked on as people broke into local businesses. While a majority of law enforcement is made up of good people, disasters bring out the worst in everyone.

You must be prepared to deal with these types of events; unfortunately, that may mean having to get the hell out of dodge should things get to hot. Check out our Bug Out Resource Guide for information on how to prepare for these types of bug out emergencies.

You need to watch out for fakes.

Fake Police Officer

Although it may seem counter intuitive to some, until things settle down you may want to avoid everyone – including law enforcement.

In a SHTF Scenario, you need to be on the lookout for everything, including people impersonating law enforcement and military personnel. If things start to spiral out of control, you will most likely see criminals preying on the innocent by pretending to be police or military officers.

Before anyone gets the wrong idea, I think many of our police and our military are heroes; I believe a majority of them will do everything they can to help people in the beginning. But when it comes down to a long-term collapse situation, human nature will take over. Most of them will likely leave to take care of their own families — who could blame them!

In the end, you need to be able to defend and take care of yourself. You, and only you are responsible for your safety. Don’t outsource it to some random law enforcement agency!

Shirts of Liberty

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  1. I never considered the possiblity of people pretending to be the police or military but I think you raise a great point. No doubt will the riffraft do anything they can to rob and steal from you including dresing up as the law.

    • If you ever find some extra time hop on good ole netflix or another movie/rental-source of some kind and watch the full jericho tv series… It sheds alot of light on many abstract possibilities and really changed my perspective on the whole scenario to the point where i believe i could survive in a SHTF scenario…

      =Here is my two sense on an urban scenario… There will always be signs no matter what be conscious of your surroundings and do not hesitate to grab that bugout bag and hoof it to the woods… This is when i would either decide to go to a further more ultimate location or dig in for the situation… Digging in would only ever be a good idea If you have nowhere safe to go and you are in a naturally secure location such as a deep valley, high caves, etc etc etc… If the roads are clear and your best judgment sais people are all dug in… Hop in your vehicle gas up and dont stop until your in a safe environment… You wont be the ones in the mayhem of the city… Remember Cities = death in most of these shtf scenarios… You do not want to be around other humans because psychologically they wont be stable due to shock, panic, etc… Im sure this is all common knowledge but If you have lived your whole life in a large city you may not realize these facts… AVOID FEMA AND PROTECTION CAMPS IMHO… Be in your own control do not rely on others you cant trust anyone when the shtf… -Josh

    • Don’t fret the “Pretend” Law and Military, FEAR the actual police and military. One there is a collapse, and local gov is gone you think there will be any gov provided cops? The former law enforcement officers will use their uniforms and badges to get what they themselves want! Pretending to you that there is still FORCE OF LAW, but will be their LAW!
      Ever see the first season of AMC’s the “Walking Dead” lead actor was a Cop before, still wore his uniform to convey power to other survivors.

      • He wore his police uniform to convey the fact that there was still someone who would uphold LAW AND ORDER. He was trying to prove that a civilized group can still remain effective even during the worst times imaginable. I am not saying that all police will use it in a good way, I know most probably will not, but I am ex military and in school to become an officer of the law and I guarantee that I will put forth MY best effort to help society remain as a whole and be the person that others can look to for answers and help. I am not trying to attack you personally, I just get really tired of people thinking that every cop or person with any badge is a bad guy or will be a bad guy. Personally, I want society to succeed, not fail, and that takes faith(albeit limited faith)in your fellow man.

  2. My plan during a disaster is to avoid the police and keep as low a profile as possible. During a disaster the police can be just as dangerous as the bad guys. They don’t want people taking the law into their own hands and they assume that everyone is in danger or dangerous. If you aren’t begging them for help then you are obviously a threat to someone…probably yourself. Then there’s the problem of rogue police or people pretending to be law enforcement like you mentioned. It’s better to just avoid all contact.

  3. I agree with the article and comments. It’s sad to say, but you may not be able to trust anyone. I saw stories about how police behaved after Katrina, and during the L.A. riots in 1994. They are heroes, but those incidents made many wonder about their motivations. And it’s not only any impersonators, but roving bands of criminals or “do-gooders” who may want to establish control. I’ve seen videos on YouTube of folks with that mind set. Best to avoid everyone and wait it out.

  4. During emergencies our governor gives the emergency responders time off if it directly affects them. This means in many cases we are short local help and have to wait several hours to days for the reinforcements to show up.

    When they do arrive they are wearing uniforms from throughout the state. Most people don’t recognize any uniform other than their local sheriff and fire which makes deception of the innocent that much easier. Anyone can walk into a uniform shop and pick up a uniform. They don’t ask for ID. It may not be legal but it’s done. On the other hand, my grandkids where my old uniform t-shirts all the time. They aren’t trying to impersonate anyone they are just wearing hand-me-downs.

  5. After being in law enforcement for 25yrs. I have a suggestion on this subject. Get to know your local law enforcement personnel. It will not only improve your ability to obtain their help if you need it quickly, you will know more of what to expect when / if a SHTF situation occurs. Cops are regular people like everyone else. You will need to know which are conservative and which are liberal in their thinking as well as which may take an anti-gun posture versus a pro-second ammendment stance.
    They commonly will know the geographic area better than most and if they are like-minded, may help you with your prepping plans.

    • Im currently trying to join my local police department for these same reasions. I believe the skills I would learn in training would really help in every day and SHTF scenarios.

    • I wouldn’t be to concerned with the military. Being In the infantry u’d be surprised how many military guys r preppers too. Were people haha not mindless zombies we don’t wanna take anyones guns trust me ik id throw some rounds out if someone tried to take mine too. The national guard on the other hand are morons for wat they allowed in Katrina it was illegal.just realize don’t target cops and military we all have home at the end of the day just like every other American and we don’t want our rights messed with either

      • Actually it was mostly the federal a county law enforcement taking the guns in Katrina, not the National Guard. I know we had units from Georgia that refused to take guns from people so dont lump the whole National Guard into one big pile. I believe it was the 101st that shot up Kent State with that masacre.

  6. ”I think our police and our military are heroes and I believe a majority of them would do everything they could to help people in the beginning.”

    Sounds more like a understatement

  7. Fellas and Gals,
    It goes something like this, anywhere you are:
    Week 1: Food and hardware stores are cleaned out. No shipments are received.
    Week 2: Lawlessness in the streets as the unprepared look for a meal.
    Week 3: Even emergency food supplies are exhausted. Provisional government takes power. Utility power and gas is cut.
    Week 4: Search parties go house-to-house looking for food caches. Provisional government rules that all citizens must turn in food and fuel for the common good. Punishment for hoarding is death.
    Week 5: Search parties go house-to-house in county and surrounding areas looking for food and fuel. Resistance is met by lethal force. Solar panels and wind turbines are disassembled for re-deployment by Provisional government.

    In the end, the mob will be at your door to take your stuff. This is a scenerio I don’t know the answer to. Good luck, all.

    • this is precisily why your MAG is so important… you should have bugged out by now and gotten to your BOL with your MAG intact by the 3rd week.. set up your own provencial gov and defences.. t

      • In my opinion there would be limited chaos in large cities, delivery issues, riots, burned property. Anyone who thinks lethal force would not be used in some cases needs to see restricted areas in my state, military makes it very clear even breeching a perimeter boundary. Talk to someone from the Serbian/Bosnian war, they have a very good insight as to what social breakdown is like. Never assume humans can’t reach a very low level of depravity given a survival situation. Stories of history tells a lot about human nature. I try to live by the saying, ” Is it true? Is it kind? Is it necessary?” If it cannot meet at least on of these questions it probably is not needed, there are exceptions to these, but a great general set of rules. Always prepare, but be kind when you are able, while suspicious. Take steps to prepare with your family, you will be more useful to everyone if not an added burden to the chaos. For you hams out there 73’s and da dit da dit, da da dit da.

  8. All I can say to that is, most people would be well advised to torch their own homes, then come out the front door with guns blazing. Better to go out on your own terms than wait to starve to death after some “provisional government mob” steals your food stores. If each and every family resisted and fought to the death, instead of letting themselves be disgraced, there would be no dishonor in that death. You only get to die once, so may as well make it a great one!

    Victory is not simply to survive a week or so after they steal your food. Victory is to resist and die in the face of tyranny and overwhelming odds, so that others may see your example and also fight the corruption before it spreads too far.

    I’d rather burn my own home to the ground and go down in a hail of gunfire than let them put their grimy hands on just one can of my baked beans.

    I don’t know, was that last paragraph too much?

    • I told my husband, it makes me sick to think of strangers pawing through my stuff if I have to leave it behind, stuff I worked my whole life to earn, and things that have great sentimental value. I don’t know if we could be that brave to go out in a blaze of gunfire, but I can’t bear the thought of starving to death, or watching my dogs starve either.

      • @Mary,
        When SHTF all the trinkets and other trivial items of uselessness that you call ‘sentimental’ will no longer have the meaning they have now. Not wanting to starve or watch your dogs starve is the reason they will not matter. You would sell/trade even the most precious of heirlooms to feed yourself if you haven’t properly prepared for your survival.

        Trust me, after a while, even those precious dogs of yours will begin to look like a good nights meal after you run out of food. Unless you keep them locked in your house with you, then you’ll all die from some unnamed disease because you forgot to plan correctly for proper sanitation in your bunker home.

  9. Think about how many cops have made enemies while in the completion of their duties. Put another way, how long do you think a “bad cop” is going to be able to hide from the friends/family of a “Perp” who got sent up the river by said cop.

    @Carl Ajemian–I disagree with your assessment of what will happen in Week 4 and 5.

    There isnt going to be any government coming to your home and taking you out. One, look at their numbers. If you add all the military and law enforcement together in the US this still puts the government at a ratio of 300 to 1. Not the best odds for doing as you say and coming to your house to take your supplies. Two, how many houses will they have to fight their way into to steal someone’s supplies. They will quickly lose energy when they have to have a bloody shootout every house that they go to. Think of all those people who strongly believe that they will take my guns “from my cold dead fingers”. There are alot of these people out there. Some are all talk and some are not. I wouldnt want the job of founding out either.

    Thnk Deer Season in the US and you soon see how well armed people are. Look at the total numbers of guns and ammo that has been sold in the last 3 years. Add to this, many people are top notch long range shooters and can easily kill a person at greater distances than 300 yard.

    Government workers also have families and will most likely stay close to home to protect their own. The same can be said for the military too. Plus, you have the problems of an illegal order to shut down a city or to shoot civilians. The Generals may order it but I am unsure of how many soldiers will follow those orders, but I know for a fact that they will have many AWOL.

    If no one will work on the military aircraft they wont be flying. Where do you find qualified and happy mechanics that will do a proper job in maintaining the equipment and not do something that will knock them out of the sky in the middle of a flight.

    Look at the high number of helicopters taken out or shot out the sky in Iraq. Even with all that high tech equipment our helicopters are sitting ducks for anyone with a high powered rifle and a good hiding spot to shoot from.

    The answer to the mob or government coming to your house and attacking you is simple. Get together a group larger than the mob and kill everyone that approaches your house or property. Use your head to come up with novel ways to scare off any people who want to attack you(Google “Vlad the Impaler”) to get ab idea of what we have planned for intruders. Look up what hogs eat too, we have a plan for them also. If you dont know this, go ask a pig farmer.

    After the 3rd week, many people are going to be ready to give it all up and find a place to die. Many are not going to make it that far. Think of the smokers and heavy drinkers that are going to get killed trying to steal a drink or get a cancer stick to calm their nerves.

    This whole scheme has been cooked up by the Global Elites/Bankers to reduce the number of people on this planet. They have doing this for a long time with drugs both legal and illegal. Killing off all of the useless eaters living off of food stamps in the major cities will be the first ones to go. After that they will try to take their show on the road but without any gas or operating vehicles they cant go far.

    Dont try to tell me that the government will have supplies of gasoline either. If they cannot get it to you and me then no driver that I know will be willing to drive a tanker full of gas down the road to become a target for someone to take out. Even with a military escort they are still taking numerous supply convoys of tankers and burning them in Pakistan.

    Best thing to do is get prepared to sit this out for a long time and be able to protect your family and propery. My neighbors and I have already agreed to come to each others aid if needed. We do not have any plans to overthrow our government but we are not going to take any crap from them either. Since they got us into this mess I sure as hell not taking any orders from them once this all blows up in their faces.

    Finally, look at the countries that have overthrown their Dictators. Our government is living in fear right now. They are afraid that we will become too bold and take them out.


    The time has come for all of us to do just that.

    • I am not sure where you got your information but I can tell you that the military will be prepared with rations, ammo and be ready to obey their officers. Failure to do so in this scenario is a capital offense. Under fire and officer can and would execute someone for cowardice in the face of the enemy.

      Are you mentally prepared to take a life? Have yours taken? Your family? If you haven’t ever been there don’t be so sure you can.

      Solution? This won’t happen in 1 minute/hour/day. Pay attention. If it looks bad, leave then. Take a day or two off. Move in the direction of your safe location. Don’t wait until it is too late. Then movement outside is the most dangerous thing to do.

      • I don’t know where you got your information from, but from my experience officers are the weak link in any military unit. Most military personnel would follow a squad leader or platoon sergeant before they would follow a lieutenant or captain. I’m not saying all officers are useless but most of them I’ve had any experience with are. Usually the person with the most common sense and experience in a unit is the platoon sergeant.

      • Good Point Avanti, I don’t see too many police responding after the first day or do because of their own families. The Military is a different story. They are ready to be deployed and Marshall Law may soon be declared… And he who gets out of dodge first has the best chance at food, fuel,water and assorted extras. It would only be a short time before your credit cards are not accepted. Anyone got $200.00-$1,000.00 in cash laying around ? I didn’t think so.

  10. I’m not sure Carl Anemia’s assessment is right but better to plan for the worst then just say that it wont happen. It may be that they give up after having to fight their way into a dozen houses that wont help you if your one of the first stops. You can avoid being a prime target by not letting everyone see how much better prepared you are. If friends, co-workers and everyone in the neighborhood know that you have food supplies, generators, guns and a stock pile of ammo then even if the don’t come to steal it they may come seeking your charity/protection or tell the new “Emergency civil authority” all about it. Remember you can not risk yourself and your family for every person you’ve ever shared a cup of coffee with. As a member of law enforcement I worry as much about well meaning but misguided civil leaders(Mayors, Sheriffs and city councils) as I do leaderless mobs.

  11. I know it’s a little lame to look at movies or tv, but I think in a total shtf scenario people will act like they acted in Jericho. People’s true colors will show and it will be neighbor against neighbor. I think most police will do the right thing but some will go down the wrong road. We must expect it & be prepared for it. Hoarders will be targeted by gangs that just want to take and by the “do gooders” that will want to “share for the common good.” Keeping a very low profile will be the only way to survive. Getting to know your neighbors and sharing your ideas of preparing, start bartering with them now, so when the time comes, it’s just your neighborhood’s routine can prevent an unwanted outcome. I will be willing to share my stockpile with my friends to a point.
    I also can say that I will not be giving up any of my weapons to anyone. I’m a “…cold, dead fingers.”

  12. When seconds count, the police are only minutes away. I suppose you can call some officers heros but I don’t trust them. They are not regular people as someone stated. They have the “authority” and the gun to back up what they perceive it to be. When we needed them, they fell well short of our expectations so when the SHTF I will expect nothing more. The National Guard are not any better as they proved during Katrina. Your rights will not be respected.

  13. I’m very grateful for the area I live in. Very rural and everyone works together. I have been teaching emergency prep classes all over our area and getting lots of volunteers to set up CERT teams all over our area.

  14. maybe some of these people are right but who am i to say? some of them are just as nuts and dangerous as the people they spout off about.me i,m just going to hunker down and protect me and mine. yall do what ever you think is right for you but don,t mess with me or you will find out what real people do in an emergency

  15. this is were gangs actuly come in handy they got the guns and in some cases YOUR guns lol “make friends with your local gangbanger” besides when u have to break into th m.p comandpost to take back your seezed leagle weopons they can back u up wth their eleagle stolen guns (also make improvised weopons gaspipe shotgun exct.)

    • Red Dawn,
      (good movie by the way)

      I suggest that before you offer advice you first learn English. Your spelling errors gave me a headache.

  16. I think about half of you are just as nuts as the people you talk about.be prepared to do what ever you must to protect you and yours.but keep in mind that you can,t help every one who is to lazy or stupid to help themselves.fight the gov? stupid!question athority?smart! just don,t expect any help from anyone.I know because i,v been there.just do the right thing and always keep your word!!!!

  17. Everyone on this board is saying that they are going to wait it out. They say people will get tired of fighting house to house after a dozen or so houses..

    What do you think the military has been doing for 10 years in Afghanistan and 8 in Iraq? They haven’t gotten tired.

    Now to address the person who said we outnumber the government 300 to 1. First, there are probably closer to three million military personnel rather than one million. Second:

    Here is generally how a see a scenario where that would not matter. There is an outbreak of “Super SARS”. The government sets up shelters for the healthy people before they get infected. They tell everyone to come to the local FEMA camp and get vaccinated and stay there until it is over. They of course don’t allow any weapons in the camp. Once there, they tell people to help out with the military who are valiantly going around saving the people who couldn’t make it on their own.

    In the mean time, the military goes around rounding people up against their will or killing them. All while being supported by the people in the camp. In fact, if they die in their missions, they will simply replace them from the pool of patriotic people in the camps.

    Now they basically have an unlimited supply of workers and soldiers. Anyway, if you were in a camp and completely at the mercy of the soldiers, wouldn’t you do what they say?

    1) I think that no one should underestimate the silent majority or the people who will do whatever the government tells them.

    2) Don’t underestimate the government’s sneakiness.

    3) If FEMA EVER seems prepared for some emergency, you should be wary. What are the odds it’s the first time?

    • I will never voluntarily go into any type of govermnent shelter. You will be stripped of anything of value. How do you know the “vaccination” they give you isn’t a lethal injection, and the intent is for you to spread disease to those you contact?

      The US military is not full of supermen, in Iraq and Afghanistan, for the cost of an old artillery round and a cheap cellphone (and sometimes even cruder bombs), they have the Americans riding in $1MM trucks. They can spend hundreds longer than USA can spend billions, that’s why we’re leaving. Afghanistan is known as the place where empires go to die. The US military’s Achilles’ heel is the fact that it relies upon a functioninf economy capable of providing it with mountians of cash daily. Without this river of cash, just like in Mad Max, “The thundering machines sputtered and stopped”

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