One of the most valuable tools in the tactical world is reliable information. This is used as a foundation for designing training, purchasing equipment, and the planning and execution of tactics. The problem has been in finding resources for reliable, current and relevant information.
An example of this deficiency was demonstrated in the area of police snipers. Until 2005, there was a long-held belief the FBI collected data on police sniper shootings, and had compiled useful statistics from them. Hundreds of authors and instructors cited this source for the “facts” of their book, articles and courses. However, now we know this was all basically an urban myth.
With the publication of the Police Sniper Utilization Survey Report, in 2005, things changed in the sniper community forever. For the first time in history, snipers and team leaders had a thoroughly researched and accurate record of what snipers have done during operations. Finally, there existed a written record of items like distances, shooting positions, types of deployments, effectiveness of shots and types of equipment used.
The American Sniper Association invested three years into documenting, researching, and verifying the information collected for their first report. The process involved contacts with over 900 municipal, county, state and Federal law enforcement agencies. This led to the establishment of a diverse, national database, with which to construct an ongoing data collection vehicle. Since publishing the initial report, ASA has been continuously receiving Survey Forms, documenting recent sniper-involved shootings. This information has been collated and added to the existing database.
The updated, 2007 version of the Police Sniper Utilization Survey Report is now available for purchase from ASA. The new report contains data on recent shootings, as well as current statistics based on this new information. As before, this report is an invaluable resource for accurate and relevant data about police sniper operations. The report highlights a couple of trends in tactical operations which should raise concerns for command staffs.
If you are unfamiliar with the Utilization Survey Report, don’t think it is simply a dry recitation of numbers with accompanying pie charts. The raw numbers are put into context to illustrate important operational issues. The statistical breakdowns are clearly written and easy to follow. A number of the documented incidents are examined in detail, to highlight specific lessons learned. The information can be, and has been, used to formulate training regimens, justify the purchase of certain equipment, and modifications of tactics. This is a document every sniper team should have in its library.
The 2007 Police Sniper Utilization Survey Report can be obtained from the American Sniper Association. Information is available at www.americansniper.org, or call 954-389-0829. A limited number of copies of the 2005 Survey Report are still available.