The Martinelli Safety Protocol


What follows below is the “Training Safety Protocol” and the “Normal Injury Assessment Protocol” utilized in Dr. Martinelli’s Officer Safety Institute which offers dynamic, reality-based interactive training for law enforcement self-defense and arrest and control tactics. It has been released for publication by the Law Offices of Michael Stone and Ron Martinelli, Ph.D. *


The Training Safety Protocol


All Officer Safety Institute (OSI) instructors follow this Training Safety Protocol each time they instruct any Use of Force (UOF) or dynamic role-playing training scenario.  Instructors should always error on the side of safety and repeat the student assessment protocols whenever there is any question as to whether the student might have any of the following:


  1. A prior (latent) injury within the last few years.
  2. A recent or previous surgery to any “protected area,” especially to the head, neck, shoulders, joints, back, hips, arms, legs, knees or feet; or any internal organs.
  3. A history of breathing difficulties, i.e., asthma.
  4. A history of high blood pressure.
  5. A history of any heart disease.
  6. Is overweight (25 - 49 lbs. over normal body weight), or obese (50+ lbs. over normal body weight).
  7. Is experiencing or complaining of soreness as a result of being out of shape


Normal Injury Assessment Protocol


1. Instructors explain the training objectives of each course of instruction and underscore that dynamic scenarios with physical competency testing while the student is “stress inoculated” are required to pass the class.


2. Instructors fully explain the Training Safety Protocol to the class and then to each student individually.  Instructors inquire about the student’s physical and medical history as indicated above.  If a student advises an instructor that the student has any physical limitations as described above, the student will be identified by a conspicuous piece of colored tape placed on the clothing (which will also identify any “protected area(s).”


3. If a student is identified as having a significant protected area or preexisting medical problem, he/she will be identified by a large “X” in colored tape, placed over the chest. The “X” identifies the student as a “non-dynamic scenario” trainee, precluded from participating in high-stress or dynamic physical training. All test forms will indicate that this student participated in the training, but was not tested or certified under dynamic conditions.


4. Prior to and immediately following each dynamic testing scenario, instructors will ask each student how he/she is doing physically and whether any have sustained any injuries or have any new physical/medical problems.


5. During the class, instructors make continuous contacts with the students in class, especially those marked with colored tape to determine whether there are any difficulties.  Instructors constantly monitor their students and are proactive in assessing any potential problems before injury occurs.


6. Throughout the class, students are repeatedly encouraged to seek out an instructor at the first sign of unusual soreness or potential injury. Examples of warning signs are: unusual muscle fatigue, muscle strain, sharp pain, throbbing pain, shortness of breath, prolonged and rapid pulse, headache, and pain in joints.


7. Instructors immediately assess any student who experiences any of the symptoms described above to determine whether the training should be continued, modified or stopped.


8. Instructors identify all injuries and medical problems sustained during the class on an injury report and ensure that injured students fill out a Departmental worker’s compensation injury form.


9. Instructors identify any unusual physical or medical problems in the section provided on the course test form to document the existence of that problem regardless of whether or not that student was injured during the class. Examples are injuries to protected area(s) or pre-existing problems identified by the student and marked with tape in the beginning of class. This helps protect the trainers from claims by students that they were injured in the class, when in fact the injuries were pre-existing.


10. At the conclusion of each class, the instructors personally assess each student to ensure that the student was not injured in class, and to document any injury or problems that the student did not identify to the instructor during class.


11. All injuries and medical problems are reported in writing to the Department’s training manager immediately following the injury. Minor injuries such as small cuts, muscle strains, or significant soreness can be reported at the end of class.


Michael P. Stone, Esq.


Ron Martinelli, Ph.D.


Michael P. Stone is a member of the California Bar. He has practiced almost exclusively in police law and litigation for 26 years, following 13 years as a police officer, supervisor and police attorney.


Dr. Ron Martinelli, directs Martinelli & Associates: Justice Consultants, LLC and its Officer Safety Institute.  He is a Master Instructor in all levels of force, and has been a certified Police Practices Expert and Trial Specialist for 25 years in state and federal courts. Ron Martinelli can be reached at: or at (949) 376-1840


* Trainers: Are you liable for trainees’ injuries caused by your alleged negligence? December 2005 Training Bulletin.