FREE e-Newsletter
Important News - Hot Topics
Get them Now!

Also by Robert O'Brien

Displaying 101  -  120  of  192

Standardizing SWAT

March 1, 2009

Last year—40 years after the creation of SWAT teams—the National Tactical Officers Association (NTOA) established the first-ever national SWAT standards. That's something that many SWAT practitioners and observers consider long overdue.

SWAT Raids and Searches Part Five: The Hit

February 26, 2009

Dynamic entries depend on “surprise, shock, and speed” and you go to the suspects. With deliberate entries like “surround and callout” the suspects come to you. Knock and announce requirements vary for each jurisdiction and must be followed.

SWAT Raids and Searches Part Four: Containment and Cover

February 18, 2009

Remember Murphy's Law. Unexpected obstacles, dogs, darkness, etc., can throw off even the best-laid plans. Effective perimeters don't happen by accident. They require tactics, planning, and precision coordination.

SWAT Raids and Searches Part Three: Staging and Target Approaches

February 18, 2009

Knowing the route is critical. Some years ago I participated in a major raid where the lead vehicle had trouble finding the target because they’d never seen it, and darkness obscured the address.

SWAT Raids and Searches Part Two: Search and Raid Preparations

February 4, 2009

Preparation for searches and raids starts long before SWAT is ever requested. It begins with deciding which warrants service SWAT will do. Some teams handle all of their agency’s raids, while others only handle the highest risk. My guess is that the majority of SWAT teams fall somewhere in between.

SWAT Raids and Searches—Part One

February 4, 2009

It could be said that a raid is a raid and a search is a search. However, that would be entirely wrong. The raid and search techniques and tactics of patrol officers differ from those of detectives. And the techniques and tactics of SWAT raids and searches are substantially different from those of both patrol officers and detectives.

Riot Makers

January 21, 2009
Certain elements of society strive to strategically foment rebellion and undermine police tactics.

BART Police Shooting: Aftermath

January 21, 2009
In my last column, I also asked what the BART shooting had to do with SWAT. Given the events of this past week, the revised answer is "everything."

Tragedy at Fruitvale Station

January 7, 2009
What I would ask of you is to watch the videos for yourself. It’s rare that we get to witness an event this significant as it happens and then follow it through to its conclusion. As you view the videos, try and put yourselves in the BART officer’s shoes because this type of incident could easily happen to any of us.

The Importance of SWAT Traditions

January 4, 2009
Traditions in SWAT can range from the elaborate and formal to the simple and informal, from awards banquets to preserving and enshrining the locker of a fallen comrade. Traditions are the heart and soul of all SWAT teams. If you haven’t already done so, now is the time to establish traditions for your own team.

Tis the Season for Mayhem and Madness—So Be Safe

December 22, 2008
As the year draws to a close, the holiday season is upon us. However, for some professions-notably, police, fire, military, emergency medical, etc.-the holidays are often busier than the rest of the year. Those in these professions, along with their families, understand and accept this as a fact of life.

What Does Mumbai Mean for Us? (Part 2 of 2)

December 19, 2008
Mumbai is a "shot heard round the world." It's a clear warning to law enforcement of what's headed our way sooner or later. The real question is will we or won't we be ready?

What Does Mumbai Mean for Us? (Part 1 of 2)

December 9, 2008
The Mumbai terror attack was a basic raid. It was a version of the same highly effective tactics employed by most SWAT teams, especially for multiple, simultaneous raids and searches. It was a testament to the devastating and deadly effects of stealth, surprise, shock, and speed.

How Long is Too Long to Remain in SWAT?

December 3, 2008

Arbitrary rotation has nothing to do with the job of SWAT itself. Instead, it’s about the—in my opinion, wrong—belief that staying too long in SWAT results in becoming “insular.”

Verbal Commands

November 26, 2008
Verbal commands very often set the tone for the ultimate outcome of police encounters, including SWAT operations.

Talking Strategy and Tactics

November 26, 2008
I’m a strong believer that once SWAT takes over a situation, SWAT should determine and carry out the tactics. Period. There are many horror stories where interference and micro managing resulted in bad outcomes and tragedies.

Bulletproofing SWAT

November 12, 2008

Ballistic protection has a single purpose: keeping YOU alive and injury free so you can accomplish your mission. The way I feel about the protection vs. comfort issue is protection wins every time. Period.

No Excuses: Wear Your Body Armor

November 7, 2008
I find it inconceivable that in 2008 there are so many police not wearing protective vests. Body armor needs to be considered as standard and essential as the gun, badge, and uniform.

A Tough Year for SWAT Teams

October 28, 2008
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.

Honor Fallen Officers by Staying Alive

October 24, 2008

The dangers of our profession range from the obvious—hostage rescue attempts and active shooters—to the hidden—vehicle crashes and physical training. And any one of them can happen to any of us at any time.

Police Magazine