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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.
SWAT

The High Cost of a Dynamic Entry

Forcibly entering a residence to serve a high-risk warrant must be carefully considered.

September 30, 2011  |  by Bob Parker - Also by this author

In an earlier blog post, Is Dynamic Entry Worth the Risk?, we asked you to consider a scenario and decide whether to forcibly enter a residence to remove a high-risk suspect.

You may want to read that post first to reacquaint yourself with the "set up," before reading the following post detailing how the scenario actually unfolded.

OK, now that you're back. Here's the answer.

The suspect was at home watching television in his living room. The tactical team deployed front and rear perimeter security, while the other members stacked on the front porch. Entry was made at approximately 2345 hours (11:45 p.m.).

Things went sideways from the start. Breaching the storm door alerted the suspect to the presence of the team.

The breacher had to rip away the locked glass-and-aluminum storm door. This took time and made a lot of noise before the ram could be deployed on the inner door. Storm doors, which would not be an issue for officers working on the west coast or other warm-weather climates, can be more problematic than a sturdy oak door. They will flex, tear and still hang on by one or two hinges. And they usually have a pane of glass. The ones that look cheap and flimsy are usually the most difficult.

The main door was quickly taken down with a ram. A flash-bang was deployed into the room occupied by the suspect. It had little or no effect in disorienting the suspect.

At this point, the suspect was rolling off the couch and onto the floor with his .44 Magnum revolver in hand. As the shield and defense men entered, the suspect fired four rounds from a prone position. Other than his lower legs, the only exposed part to the shield officer was his right arm holding the pistol.

Three of the suspect's rounds missed all three officers. One round hit the shield man in the elbow, traveled up his triceps and exited out the back of his right shoulder. The two other officers returned fire — eight of their 11 rounds hit the suspect in the head and neck. The suspect was dead right there. The wounded officer was immediately transported via rescue squad to a hospital. The house was cleared.

An internal investigation found no violation of policy or wrongdoing on the part of the team. A grand jury came to the same conclusion. 

The officer that was wounded, suffered a shattered elbow and was told he would likely never return to full duty. He retired with a disability pension several months later.

This incident took place over 15 years ago during a different time when dynamic entry was the first option for many agencies. There wasn't a great deal of debate about it.

Your comments on the first part of this scenario were all spot on, well thought out and articulated. As you correctly pointed out, there was no urgency, and the suspect could have been taken down and the evidence (revolver) secured by looking at other options.

This mission was accomplished, but at a steep price.

Related: Is Dynamic Entry Worth the Risk?

Tags: Dynamic Entries, SWAT Tactics, Warrant Service


Comments (2)

Displaying 1 - 2 of 2

Stephen Adams @ 10/4/2011 7:06 PM

Being a Police Officer for 35 years, a SWAT officer for 9 years, we have learned you never force an entry when you can surround and call out. That is unless there is a hostage involved.

SRT100 @ 10/5/2011 6:55 AM

We often use ruse tactics with a great deal of success in luring suspects out and into a trap. Does not guarantee he will not resist but the odds are overwhelmingly stacked in our favor. I have been on hudreds of these warrants similiar to the one posted. Why you ask? Well more often than not it comes down to money. Command staff would not authorize any type of prolonged surveillance. Our team is broken down into three components. Alpha Team works the dayshift and Bravo Team works the evening shift. Each team has twelve fulltime operators. Another twenty operators are considered part-time on-call status from other divisions/units in dept. The dept simply refuses to spend the money to conduct prolonged operations on arrest warrants. You have to remember that many of the Chief's never worked SWAT (he guys it's not the fast track to promotion anymore in case you didn't get the memo). The Chief's have no idea how a operation should be conducted and they are not inclined to listen to anyone beneath them. It sucks but it is a fact of life in some department's.

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