FRONTLINE DEBRIEFS Reliance on SWAT

Many years ago a great friend of mine, Ray Coffman of Albuquerque, made the prescient comment that our reliance on SWAT would be omnipresent. In other words, evolutions that normal field-grade officers might have addressed in the past would automatically be placed under the purview of SWAT. Ray was an instructor for the Department of

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FRONTLINE DEBRIEFS: Overseas Police Work

The timeless adage, “The grass is always greener on the other side” may be appropriately applied to police work. Having trained in a number of overseas venues, I can unequivocally state that despite the many regulations we impose (and many rightly so) on ourselves in the U.S., they pale in comparison to regulations implemented in

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FRONTLINE DEBRIEFS: Active-Shooter Response

A reader recently asked me to comment on a previous article I authored entitled the The Imperfect Machine as it relates to the recent Parkland High School shooting. First and foremost, I wasn’t there. Nor do I have all the details. I can, however, render my take on the situation. During the many active-shooter courses

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FRONTLINE DEBRIEFS: Dangers of Police Work

Many careers entail varying degrees of risk. Some careers are inherently riskier than others. But police work brings to the table an entirely unpredictable set of life-and-death decisions/actions with a most important caveat. It must operate within strict rules, dictums, and laws of engagement that are questioned at every step. Few professions demand that such

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FRONTLINE DEBRIEFS Make the First Shot Count

It has been my experience that overall, in the field, when the first shot does not connect with the intended target, successive shots as well have a tendency not to connect. On the opposite end of the spectrum, when initial shots connect, they are either successful in stopping the fight altogether, or successive shots tend

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Frontline Debriefs: The Imperfect Machine

If anyone has questioned you about why officers acted in a certain manner or you yourself have pondered why an event depicted on video played out as it did, the answer is straightforward. The human being is an imperfect machine. We are all comprised of hydrogen, oxygen, carbon, and nitrogen. We are all the product

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Frontline Debriefs: Retirement Events

At some point in time, if you hang in there long enough, you may retire from a career in law enforcement, and hopefully it will be with a sense of satisfaction and a degree of accomplishment. Now there are retirements and there are retirements. Some individuals are immensely popular with their colleagues, and the event

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FRONTLINE DEBRIEFS: A Sense of History

During my LAPD Academy days, we were debriefed on historical shootings on the LAPD. On the back lot of Universal Studios, SWAT debriefed us on the most famous ones during our one-day SWAT/Officer Survival training, a day that sadly no longer exists. These lessons sought to explain the history of the department you were joining

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Frontline Debriefs: Judicial Perception

In recent times, a number of court cases have not being adjudicated in favor of police. While some cases are clearly in favor of the plaintiff and for just cause, I know of others in which the facts would not seem to justify an award against law enforcement, and yet this is precisely what occurred.

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Frontline Debriefs: LAPD SWAT Tactics

LAPD SWAT has had four major shootouts in the last four months. I do not recall there having been this many shootings in as many months in SWAT’s history. For whatever reason, the bad guys in L.A. have decided to go to guns as opposed to relinquishing their freedom voluntarily. The whys, wherefores, and rationale

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