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SWAT—Not Sit, Wait, and Talk

SWAT—Not Sit, Wait, and Talk

Jeffrey J. Denning / SWAT Digest

Although the physiological changes from an initial adrenaline dump may occur and we may be ready to “rock ‘n’ roll”, we should fight the urge to rush in until we are confident that we have the tactical advantage.

On Hold, Standing By

Talk about frustrating. You’re amped, psyched or stoked—depending on what part of the country you’re from—either way, you’re ready to charge in like a Mac truck and do some damage, if needed, and the situation or the boss says “hold on”. Now what?


Okay, that might not be the first thing you should do, but it’s something that should be more on the minds of operators.

In July 1999 I trained with representatives from nearly every SWAT team that responded to the Columbine High School shootings just three months before. I don’t recall if it was a Jefferson County Sheriff’s deputy or a police officer from Littleton, Colorado who said that before he went inside the school he saw an officer sitting on the sidewalk finishing off a hamburger and a drink. Even though Columbine changed the way officers would respond to active shooting situations forever, the actions of that SWAT officer that day were praised as brilliant. It was a long day. It would eventually take four and a half hours just to clear the inside of the school!

Don’t forget to fuel up. Although we won’t take time to eat in an active shooter situation, there are plenty of other operations that will demand lots of time and energy. Combat operations fatigue the body. Don’t get overly focused or too “tough” to give your body what it demands. You’re performance will deteriorate in all aspects should you neglect this important necessity. And, as we’ve heard, “eat when you can, not when you have to.” If you wait, you might not get the chance.

During down time continuously improve upon the plan. This is a given, but many teams still need serious help in this area. Why? because we’re all creatures of habit. We get comfortable over time. Our successes outweigh our failures. We think we’ve always done it that way and it’s worked so far.

Warning! Routine kills.

Welcome outside thinking. Challenge old systems and ways of doing things. Bad guys watch, study and learn. Potential threats and serious cop killers have access to tactical training. They pay attention to the way things are done. In one sense, they’re not as stupid as they act. As we live to stop them, they study on how to defeat us.

  • Photo_user_banned_big


    about 5 years ago


    good article will use some of the advise we need more tatical trainning info out there to help work togather as team

  • Jeso_max50


    over 5 years ago


    PETE114 and madog87--I'm with you both, wtf? I don't even know what I just read, it doesn't make sense.

    Great article.

  • Suz_suit_pic_blk___white_max50


    over 5 years ago


    The really like this article - Excellent advise

  • P3_max50


    over 5 years ago


    pete114 lol im with ya man ?? Great article

  • Jpd_new_max50


    over 5 years ago


    What are you talking about?

  • 20130324_182454_max50


    over 5 years ago


    Most excellent...Good Job

  • Cpusey-001_max50


    over 5 years ago


    Very well done!!

  • Est_training_with_kansas_city_metro_037_max50


    over 5 years ago


    Nicely done.

  • Lion_cub__masai_mara__kenya_max50


    over 5 years ago


    great advice.

  • Photo_user_blank_big


    over 5 years ago


    I moved to a home that I thought with my 4 children that would be safe since so many officers lived in the same neighborhood. One evening after work I was talking to a coworker about a project we had to complete at work. I looked out the window and said to my coworker wow there are a lot of police out in the neighborhood tonight (before dusk) after a while still looking out the window I noticed that the cars were parked in formation (a semi circle) in front of my house. They were opening the trunks of their cars and suiting up with bullet proof vest etc. slowly it was dawning on me they plan to come in here! I am not the scary type but I dont commit crimes. okay i dont always yield at yellow lights. my co worker said that sounds like SWAT. Fear and I got really close fast. I didnt know what to do. I couldnt call the police they were out front. my coworker said dont open the door or they may shoot you. Fear and I wrapped ourselves around one another and I hid my children in closets. just in case they just started shooting. When i moved in the front yard had been destroyed with cars parking in front and no grass etc. I had redone the lawn and planted flower beds etc. I waited so scared because I was told SWAT doesnt ask questions. you just go to jail. guilty until proven innocent. I thank God that because they took the time to assess the situation and did not come in or even to the door. As they were packing up and leaving I opened the door okay that may not have been a bright idea but I did it. And asked what was going on several ignored me but one finally asked me how long had I lived there a month i said. He told me it was a good idea that I had taken steps to improve the property because the people that lived there before me were trafficking drugs. I didnt know who lived there before I just moved to town. The hurry up and wait was my saving grace. I found out that the people they were looking for lived next door. According to neighbors. So SWAT was almost right. Those same people broke into my house the following week. made themselves a tuna salad sit down and ate it then took all the meat out the freezer, new school clothes for my children and assorted clothing of mine. I moved the next day!

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