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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.

  • Monstermile_max50


    about 3 years ago


    Fantastic Article. Exactly what command staff should be reading

  • Photo_user_blank_big


    almost 4 years ago


    This article is not only very well written and on target............... I hope that I can put into affect the" patience" portion and be able to utilize it in my everyday affairs.My line of work couldn't be compared to law enforcement.Similar though, because I sometimes have to deal with scumbags and everybody could use more patience..........That's right I sell cars !!!!!!!!!!!! And who doesn't LOVE a car salesman? (-:

  • Puppy_max50


    about 4 years ago


    always a dream to be on the swat team

  • Images_5__max50


    about 4 years ago


    Great article!

  • Fa03_max50


    about 4 years ago


    love the article , plan ,execute ,

  • Cpusey-001_max50


    about 4 years ago


    Good article.

  • N1459748587_179762_1020_max50


    about 4 years ago


    Great Article! But a team bulding exercise such as PT every now and then can't hurt and proves to be great for team building.

  • 002_max50


    about 4 years ago


    wow, hate to say it but what are you smoking there Paralegal 54 ????? Nice story but back to the real world now: great article and I agree about reassesing and constant planning

  • Photo_00002_max50


    about 4 years ago


    I like the idea of constantly reviewing, revising, updating the plan. It helps to counter-act the unfortunate tendency of highly trained, specialized units to be tactical geniouses and strategic idiots. By being so specialized and overtrained in certain operational proceedures and tactics, they become complacent and don't bother to exercise some creative thinking. All in all -Excellant article. LTC Thomas FX Nugent

  • Iraqcampaignmedal-ribbon_max50


    over 4 years ago


    Paralegal54. I don't know what you have been watching on tv or reading in the media but we don't get dressed on the front lawn of the house we are fixing to hit. As a SWAT officer of more than 12 years, when we pull up in front of your house, our blue lights are not on, we are fully dressed and you're not going to know we are there until your front door caves in. As far as "SWAT almost got the right house" comment, we don't pick where we make entries. We are told where to go to make the entry. That one is not our choice or decision. You obviously have no idea how we operate or even what our job entails. And finally, NO, SWAT doesn't ask questions. Our job is to make entry and secure the scene and everyone in it. Once that is done, the narcs or investigators can ask the questions. Remember, knowledge is power.

  • Photo_user_blank_big


    over 4 years ago


    paralegal54 wake up and turn the swat movies off. Its time to come back to earth

  • Photo_user_blank_big


    over 4 years ago

    Good article........

  • 1287065658575_max50


    over 4 years ago


    Great article, thank you.

  • In_remembrance_of_oakland_pd_max50_max50_max50_max50_max50


    over 4 years ago


    A well written article with lots of good advice.

  • Swat_teaser_fin_sm001_max50


    over 4 years ago


    Good article.. dont really know why paralegal54 mentioned that confusing story buuuuuuut....ok!

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