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Bob Parker

Bob Parker

Lt. Robert Parker served with the Omaha (Neb.) PD for 30 years and commanded the Emergency Response Unit. He is responsible for training thousands of law enforcement instructors in NTOA's Patrol Response to Active Shooters courses.

Jose Medina

Jose Medina

Officer Jose Medina is an active member of the Piscataway (N.J.) Police Department's SWAT team and runs Awareness Protective Consultants (Team APC) tactical training.

A Tough Year for SWAT Teams

SWAT teams nationwide have suffered months of pain and tribulation. But they've come out on top.

October 28, 2008  |  by Robert O'Brien - Also by this author

How is your SWAT team doing so far this year? At one extreme, some teams have been called out only a few times this year. Other teams have been called out for hundreds of incidents and operations. Some of these callouts have turned out well, others not so well.

LAPD SWAT lost its very first officer in February. Randall Simmons was killed during a courageous hostage rescue attempt. Shortly afterward, the department was embroiled in a controversy over changed entrance standards. It's been a tough year for LAPD SWAT, but  they have survived and learned from their trials. This is the hallmark of true professionals.

LAPD SWAT was not the only team that suffered this year.

After a controversial shooting, Lima (Ohio) PD SWAT suddenly found itself at the center of a maelstrom of bitter controversy that continues to divide the Midwest city. But so far, LPD SWAT has remained intact, continuing its duties even as controversy swirls around them.

Another controversial SWAT shooting in Utah is still unfolding, but has already resulted in investigations by outside agencies.

Another Midwest SWAT team, Shaker Heights (Ohio) PD, was suddenly disbanded after 22 successful years due to inadequate resources. The possibility exists that SHPD will eventually join a regional SWAT team.

For these teams, 2008 has proven to be a rough years. However, for most SWAT teams, 2008 has been a winning year. SWAT's overwhelmingly successful winning record is truly remarkable, especially when you consider that SWAT is often only called when the game is already in "sudden death overtime," to use a football analogy.

The credit for SWAT's success deservedly goes to those in the trenches: the law enforcement officers who, despite the odds, unhesitatingly go into harm's way to protect the innocent.

Just remember, there are still more than two months left in 2008. Continue doing what you do best and do it all the time for every callout.

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