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SWAT—Not Sit, Wait, and Talk

SWAT—Not Sit, Wait, and Talk

Jeffrey J. Denning / SWAT Digest

Because of this we must encourage creativity, explore unconventional tactics. What was once unconventional in SWAT operations is now well known and publicized. Our nemeses often know what we’ll do even before we do it.

Barriers to creativity include unapproachable leadership. This is a “team” operation. Individuals may be smart, but one person cannot possibly have all the answers. Leaders and individual team members must—not should—encouraging brainstorming and free thinking by allowing open discussion (at the appropriate time). Avoid put-downs, saying things like “that’s a dumb idea.” Instead explore each option and give a reason why or why not. Quality leaders should be able to articulate and convince a whole team why the final tactical plan is the very best and safest option.

The other related hindrance that keeps our blinders on generating dangerous myopic thinking is “group think”. Do we all think alike? Most of the time that’s good; sometimes it can thwart progression. Challenge the conventional, the routine. SWAT needs guys/gals who will challenge the norm and ask why or why not. Finally, take suggestions and ideas from new guys seriously. They often have fresh perspectives. Focus. Concentrate. Never underestimate the suspect(s), the terrain or the situation. Dominate tactically. And remember: there’s a serious difference between using strong, powerful, overwhelming tactics and using excessive force. Don’t confuse this. Win.

Dear Boss:

If your SWAT team isn’t training at least two full days each month plus a minimum of two or three weeks each year, you’re doing your community a grave disservice. If your team runs five miles together in full tactical gear on training days instead of making use of the limited but valuable training time you’re allotted, you’re wasting precious time. Don’t major in the minors! Seriously, how often is your team going to rappel in an operation? Focus training on what’s most important: tactics, shooting and scenario-based training. You can’t get in shape by working out two days each month.

Chances are you don’t have enough team members to safely, adequately handle SWAT operations, let alone those who may be on vacation, injured, or face it…intoxicated. Consider doubling the current number. Even then you might not have enough. On my first hostage call-out our team leader had just gotten out of the hospital from receiving a vasectomy. If we could only schedule when criminals would start their rampage then we might keep small numbers of SWAT officers available.

Seriously though, hopefully nothing terribly wrong will every happen, but changes are something will go extremely awry one day. At that point budget and personnel shortage problems that may now be attributed to the current lack of support and resources will seem futile. Multiple death notifications, workers compensation pay-outs, negative press coverage, not to mention the abundance of other distresses, is not a good note to end your career on.

  • 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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