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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.

Doug  Wyllie

Doug Wyllie

Doug Wyllie has authored more than 1,000 articles and tactical tips aimed at ensuring that police officers are safer and more successful on the streets. Doug is a Western Publishing Association “Maggie Award” winner for Best Regularly Featured Digital Edition Column. He is a member of International Law Enforcement Educators and Trainers Association (ILEETA), an Associate Member of the California Peace Officers’ Association (CPOA), and a member of the Public Safety Writers Association (PSWA).

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.

Is Dynamic Entry Worth the Risk?

Tell us how you would approach this tactical scenario.

August 24, 2011  |  by Bob Parker - Also by this author

Photo: POLICE file art.
Photo: POLICE file art.

Speed and quick movement are the critical components of dynamic entry. This tactic is meant to surprise and overwhelm the suspect(s), and thereby prevent them from taking up arms, hardening their defensive position, harming hostages or destroying evidence.

In other words, we're going to use speed, surprise and violence of action to stop the bad guys from grabbing a gun, locking the door, harming innocents or flushing the dope.

Situational assessment is difficult on the fly. Moving slower or setting up containment gives us a chance to establish solid intelligence. Valuable information such as where the guy with the gun is concealed helps. Assessing the situation is tougher when you're moving rapidly. And you may ask if there is even anybody inside the target.

There are times when dynamic entry may be the only option available. There are other options at our disposal that need to be considered before we breach a door, throw a flash-bang and roll into dark territory.

Here's a scenario to consider. It's based on an actual incident.

The homicide-assault unit has contacted the tactical commander. They have a no-knock search warrant, signed by a judge, in hand. The warrant is for a felony assault suspect and his weapon, a large single-action revolver.

The suspect is a member of an outlaw biker gang. Numerous arrests and convictions for narcotics offenses and violent crimes, including a term in the penitentiary for murder two, appear on his record. He beat his estranged wife to death with a toilet seat. Most recently — the crime he is accused of — he stuck the barrel of this large revolver in the mouth of a juvenile and threatened to kill him.

The suspect lives by himself in a single-family home in a blue-collar neighborhood. The warrant will be served at approximately 11:30 p.m. on a Tuesday. Ambient temperature is in the 20s. Lights are on in the living room. The suspect's vehicle is at the residence. Homicide detectives have been sitting on the house, waiting for our arrival. They've observed no one coming or going.

We have the signed no-knock. Do we serve it by initiating a dynamic entry?  Or do we explore other options to take the suspect into custody and secure the evidence (revolver)?

What would you do? Please give us your answer, by adding a comment below. Articulate your reasons for the option you choose.

In the next column, I'll tell you how the scenario actually went down, as well as the aftermath.

Comments (5)

Displaying 1 - 5 of 5

Mike @ 8/24/2011 12:10 PM

No way do I approve (Chief Deputy/Tac Team Comm.) dynamic entry here. What's the rush? Sit on the house and nab him coming out or felony traffic stop. I don't think he is going to flush a large revolver. No reason to rush into his territory. Alarms, traps, dogs etc.

Bill Brooks @ 8/25/2011 6:53 PM

This may sound like an oxymorom, but this situation is too dangerous for a dynamic entry. Who came up with the plan to serve this at night? The officers should employ a ruse to get the subject to come out of the house. Call him to the station for some innocuous reason, wait for him to come out in the morning, ask his parole officer to call him in, etc. Then felony stop him en route or surprise him. He's not going to flush the gun so there's no need to rush.

Dave Maron @ 8/25/2011 8:06 PM

Although I am a big proponent of dynamic entry and have used it for almost ten years as part of a full time Tactical team, I see potential problems with this warrant service.
First off, the time of day. This guy is probably awake and knows he is wanted. Going in at this time would not be the best decision.
Secondly, what is the urgency to go in right now? Why not wait and serve the warrant in the early morning?
Intel must also be done with getting as much info as possible. Does he have anyone else there? Kids? Friends(bad guys), dogs, etc...
If the intel points to a possible shooting, maybe ripping him off in the morning when he leaves might make more sense.
Disposing of a revolver, that's if he has it, is very difficult to do besides from melting it.
Given this particular scenario, and the investigative unit wants it served now, I would have a containment team set up around the house, and have my entry team breach and hold the door w/o making entry. The use of shields, armoured vehicles, etc for cover. I would have the option of using a dog as well to help pinpoint his location should the bad guy have retreated to another area of the house. After that, the situation becomes a barricade and we wait him out or use gas to flush him out.
It may take longer, cost more money, but in the long run it would be safer for everyone.
If an early morning service is agreed upon, maybe dynamic entry because you would be able to maximize on the speed, surprise, and violence of action because the bad guy would just be waking up.
Just my two cents on the matter which I know we could debate for hours both ways,
Stay safe

Jeffrey Tambasco @ 8/26/2011 6:34 AM

A dynamic entry is not needed in this situation. Once an arrest warrant has been obtained, SWAT should be activated. A surround and call out would be the appropriate decision here. There is no need to rush this operation. Based on the suspect's gang involvement, an entry at 11:30PM is only asking for problems. After the perimeter is secured, negoiations can start. If the suspect refuses to comply, option such as chemical agents can be introduced. At teh end of teh day, an entry must be made but only after all resources have been exhausted.

Matt Alexander @ 8/26/2011 9:19 AM

I agree with the other comments. We would NOT do a dynamic entry on this (we don't do them for any search warrants anymore). I am usually a fan of taking people off on a vehicle stop away from their residence, but I'm not sure I would favor that with this guy. He seems likely to run or fight it out in public and dealing with him in his house would be safer for the public, as long as the intel doesn't put a bunch of people in the house with him. We would surround and callout (no breach) from the armored vehicle, attempt phone contact via CNT and PA announcements, and if he did not respond we would conduct break/rake camera insertions into the house from the armored vehicle to locate him inside. If he did not comply we would proceed with a standard gas plan. If that didn't get him out, eventually (after LOTS of gas) we would search behind a K9 and with pole cameras/robots/thermal imagers to locate and arrest.

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