Each August the NFL kicks off its pre-season with the annual Hall of Fame parade, Hall of Fame induction ceremony, and Hall of Fame Game in Canton, Ohio.

The preseason is a time of great anticipation, promise, and hope for all NFL teams as they train for the season with one goal in mind, winning the Super Bowl. To win a championship, a football team needs a winning strategy along with the tactics and commitment from its leaders to carry out the strategy. To achieve its goals, a SWAT team must also have commitment from the brass and a winning strategy.

Like NFL teams, each SWAT team develops its own strategy and tactics designed to win every “game,” every season. And like in the NFL, there are certain common, basic strategies and tactics that are common to all teams but also variations unique to each team.  For no two SWAT or football teams are exactly the same. While the rules and the basics may be the same, every team puts its own unique spin on them in order to make things work in their unique circumstances.

The purpose of this week’s column, along with subsequent future columns, is to develop an exchange of ideas in which we can discuss how SWAT is employed and deployed across United States and Canada. As such, I am requesting feedback from you, the readers of this PoliceMag.com channel.

I am interested in hearing from as many readers as possible. I anticipate your responses will be varied and will come from those in SWAT, including active, former and retired, as well as non-SWAT officers who have an interest in the subject of SWAT.
Consider this your opportunity to share your thoughts and opinions about SWAT with a large law enforcement audience. I want your ideas, thoughts, and opinions to lead to an open dialogue about SWAT.

The central theme of this discussion will revolve around how SWAT fits into law enforcement both nationally and locally.

Consider this your opportunity to learn from and share with others in SWAT as well as those officers who have an interest in SWAT. Note: When I refer to SWAT, I mean all specialized tactical teams, units, and operations, regardless of whether your team is officially called a SWAT team or uses one of more than a dozen other acronyms.

And that in itself is an interesting topic. Does the name chosen for a law enforcement tactical unit indicate the attitude that the brass takes toward that unit? Are some names better than others? What do you think?

In the weeks ahead, this column will discuss more about different SWAT strategies, what works and what doesn’t and why. I want to hear from you about your tactics, strategies, how your department uses its team, and how that affects you.

The goal is to get a clearer picture of SWAT throughout the United States and Canada. We know where SWAT has already been and now it’s time to learn where SWAT is today and where it’s going in the future.

Note: I’m making this one law enforcement sensitive. So have at it, guys, you are addressing only your prescreened brothers and sisters in law enforcement.

Author

Robert O'Brien
Robert O'Brien

Robert O'Brien

A member of the TREXPO Advisory Board, Sgt. Robert "Bob" O'Brien Cleveland SWAT Ret. is the founder of the R.J. O'Brien Group Ltd., a law enforcement training and consulting service that advises and trains a number of local, state, and federal SWAT teams.

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A member of the TREXPO Advisory Board, Sgt. Robert "Bob" O'Brien Cleveland SWAT Ret. is the founder of the R.J. O'Brien Group Ltd., a law enforcement training and consulting service that advises and trains a number of local, state, and federal SWAT teams.

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