“May have been the losing side. Still not convinced it was the wrong one.”

"This report is maybe 12-years-old. Parliament buried it, and it stayed buried till River dug it up. This is what they feared she knew. And they were right to fear because there's a whole universe of folk who are gonna know it, too. They're gonna see it. Somebody has to speak for these people. You all got on this boat for different reasons, but you all come to the same place. So now I'm asking more of you than I have before. Maybe all. Sure as I know anything I know this, they will try again. Maybe on another world, maybe on this very ground swept clean. A year from now, 10, they'll swing back to the belief that they can make people . . . better. And I do not hold to that. So no more running. I aim to misbehave." ~ Captain Malcom Reynolds

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Time wasted

Normally I hate "Monday-morning quarterbacking" other police calls, particularly when it's something where the full details aren't out yet. Unfortunately, in this case I feel the need to make a few comments.

Forty minutes before making entry.

I have to say that again.

Forty minutes.

That is completely and totally inexcusable in today's world.

Twenty years ago we trained officers on a hot call to set a perimeter, call out SWAT and wait things out. Statistically it was a successful strategy, and it minimized both officer and civilian deaths.

Columbine changed all that - we started realizing that in situations like this speed is of the essence. We have spent the past ten years trying to get this message out and teach police to deal with the situation immediately, even if at risk to themselves. Innocent lives simply cannot wait for us to surround a building, wait for a tactical team to get called out, geared up and then make an entry at some point down the line.

Hell, I've spent a chunk of time in the past two weeks teaching classes on this very thing to our road guys - building on their tactical skills and helping them with the mindset of an immediate, forceful response to an active shooter. Going over the case studies and even showing videos to remind them of what is at stake.

I can't say I know who made the decisions to delay a response in the Binghamton shootings; and I certainly can't say that it would or would not have made a difference. I will however repeat my statement that the decision to wait is completely inexcusable, and the community has every right to be holding people accountable for it. When the initial units arrive within three minutes of a known active shooting call, and then do nothing but wait, a department protocol needs to be reexamined.

So, two messages from this one, in my opinion.

If you are an officer, you need to examine your department policy, and more importantly your own plans for a situation like this. Seek out the training to deal with an active shooter - there are plenty of agencies offering classes, seminars and even help in writing policies and procedures if your agency is balking. Get your mind ready for the day it happens, so that you know what to do. Part of the oath we took means that we stand between the innocent and those that would harm them, even at risk to ourselves. I know the last thing I would ever want on my conscience is the knowledge that someone else lost a child or loved one because I was waiting outside.

If you are a private citizen, you need to have your own mindset and plans in place. If you are legally able to and lawfully carry then you need to be prepared as well. When something happens you may be the only one there who is able to respond in time in order to protect yourself and others - because no matter what the police response, it will still take them time to arrive. If you cannot or choose not to be armed then you can develop your own safety plans. An easy acronym for this is ADD - AVOID the attackers, DENY them access to where you are and DEFEND yourself and others if needed - I have an earlier discussion on improvised weapons for those situations for reference.

Sorry for the rant, but this one particularly annoys me. The fact is that too many of the bad people in society have developed the mindset that the general public will do nothing to defend themselves, and that is acceptable to take out their frustrations by taking as many innocents with them to the end as possible. Until this changes our job as sheepdogs is to be ready for them.


Anonymous said...

Thank you, Sean. Very sincerely.

Spartan Cops said...

I like your belief that citizen's have responsibility to be part of the solution. Your ADD acronym is an excellent solution and teaching aid.

I agree that entry should have been made earlier by officers. The transition of police departments to active shooters tactics is going slow. Many revert back to the barricaded suspect method when the stress of an actual incident happens.

Good post.

Captain Tightpants said...

I won't take credit for the acronym Spartan Cops - it comes from the Texas-based ALERRT program, which is an excellent resource for active shooter programs.

Sean Galt said...

Excellent post, man.
So many people are applying for CCW now in my locale, that I was informed last week that my "3-day" renewal process for mine was now expected to be about a 3-week wait. Heck, 1/2 of the county must be carrying by now, and inquiries for "gots any .40 S&W?" are NUTS.
Folks- Carry, practice, and carry some more.