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Columns : In My Sights

The Plan

Even in police work, no plan survives first contact with the bad guys.

November 01, 2006  |  by Dave Smith - Also by this author

Jump into the fray then decide. - Napoleon Bonaparte

In the beginning we had a warrant and no plan...a void. We spoke among ourselves, "what would we do?" and then...suddenly he was there, the Sergeant. He stepped to the board, the marker flew into his hand, and suddenly there was The Plan...and he said, "It is good." We now had order in our minds, confidence in our hearts, diagrams on our clipboards, gas in our tanks, armor on our bodies, and we went forth righteously to execute The Plan.

I was one with The Plan and, being such, I stood at the door side by side with another as we knocked, announced to the answering felon, and made entry followed by our hearty cohorts as spoken in The Plan. Thus, I knocked and knocked and knocked as directed in The Plan...but no one came forth...no one shouted a greeting...no one seemed to move within...there was no answering felon...and then my backup left. I did not know why, but I knew that was not in The Plan.

Suddenly, the door flew open and there stood a man...a very large man...a bodybuilder. He was definitely NOT in The Plan. Still, I calmly announced my station and my mission, awaiting both my backups and a response from this fellow who resided in the house of illicit drugs who somehow, someway, had not been included in The Plan. Worse, he was not with The Plan...he was not of The Plan...he was of the Land of the Spontaneous, from which the fog of battle arises, the chaos of conflict evolves...for without speaking he smote me on the nose and fled.

But I had been one with The Plan! I was in The Plan, I was happy with The Plan, I was bleeding like mad...that was not in The Plan either...damn...so I abandoned The Plan. I roared and raced after my assailant through the house of drugs while villains sat about watching their television with far too much volume.

As I caught my Goliath, I screamed my commands and applied intermediate force upon his person...I seemed a madman and the other occupants sat terrified and frozen watching the carnage on the floor in front of their television...while not in The Plan this seemed to be working much better than The Plan itself.

Ah, and now my comrades, my amigos, my friends appeared...but not as highly disciplined warriors of The Plan...more like Vandals sacking Rome...bellowing, raging, searching with vengeance for they were enraged at the sight of my blood! O Chaos, what have thou done to The Plan...for there was great clamor and shouts and commands and those who tried to flee were stopped short and those who tried to flush were left...flushless...and suddenly there was order...chaos had fled.

As we looked at one another, victorious in our conquest, we were suddenly...following The Plan. I was filling out our booking slips, another was listing the evidence and contraband being discovered, others were doing the discovering, and still others were interviewing those who did wrong and once again...we were with The Plan.

Finally, we looked about...at the drugs, at the prisoners, at the house, at my nose...and the sergeant said, "It is done." So ended The Plan, the good plan, a flexible plan, a plan based on a clear mission, a plan that stopped when humans do what they do, when chaos strikes, when accidents happen, or fate intervenes.

The wise sergeant said everyone needs a plan so they have something to abandon in a crisis...but, when our training and courage and initiative have overcome the threat, then we go back...back to The Plan.

Dave Smith is the creator of "Buck Savage" and a retired law enforcement officer from Arizona. Currently, he is the lead instructor for Calibre Press' "Street Survival" seminar.


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