SWAT Advisor Justice

Special Operations Combat would like to welcome Justice as our staff CQB Tactical Advisor. Justice is an avid Red Storm/UBI FPS player who is a real life S.W.A.T. member. Look for articles from Justice in future updates of the SOCCOM site. The first installment in this series deals with the history of S.W.A.T. Check out this article here:

Introduction

Welcome to the first in a hopefully long running series about tactical operations in the S.W.A.T. environment.  I hope that I can help you understand how to play Raven Shield and other tactical shooter games with better understanding about how and why the game operates in the way it does.  I will first start this series with a brief overview of S.W.A.T. and the inner workings so that you may understand why I choose the tactics I do for the game.

SWAT teams were formed to strengthen law enforcement's response to situations beyond the scope of "routine".  The direction of SWAT has always been guided by several fundamental principles established in the very early stages of development.  All tactical teams would strive to uphold these standards.

Haymarket Riots

On May 3, 1886, violence erupted at the McCormick Reaper Works during an assembly of strikers.  That evening, a small group of anarchists met to plan a rally the next day in response to the McCormick incident.

The rally began about 8:30 PM on May 4th at the Haymarket.  As the rally drew to a close, 176 policemen led by Inspector John Bonfield moved in and demanded immediate dispersal of the remaining 200 workers.  A bomb exploded killing one officer at the scene and injuring 60 other officers.  Six more officers later died from their injuries.  No official count was made of civilian deaths or injuries because civilian friends and relatives carried the injured off immediately.  Medical evidence later verified that round fired from other police officers inflicted most of the police injuries.

Watts Riots

On August 11th, 1965, during a traffic stop of a black male for Driving While Intoxicated, onlookers became violent.  Additional officers were called and some say that some of the officers hit antagonists with batons.  This incident combined with escalating racial tensions, overcrowding in the Watts area, and the summer hear wave sparked violence on a massive scale.

After Watts riots, the Chief of LAPD conducted an internal investigation of the urban warfare that had occurred over the 10-day period.  His investigation revealed that at one point during the riot, police had fired approximately 4,000 rounds at a sniper in a house.  The sniper had escaped but the house, which the sniper was never around, had to be demolished due to the damage.  As a result of his investigation, the Chief assigned LT. G. Nelson the task of developing alternatives to special threat situations.

The Texas Tower Incident

On August 1st, 1966, Charles Whitman went to the top of the Clock Tower at the University of Texas in Austin, and within 94 minutes killed 15 people and wounded 34 others.  The Austin Police were not prepared for this incident and various problems occurred.  There were no weapons owned by the police department that were capable of returning fire, and as a result officers returned home to get their hunting rifles.  During the shooting spree, which lasted almost two hours, there was constant civilian interference and lack of perimeter controls.  No central commander or command post area was established.  there was a lack of planning and cooperative action by other agencies.

This incident more than any other incident in history led to the development of SWAT.

The Howard Johnson Incident

January 7th-8th, 1973, Mark Essex killed and wounded 22 persons including 3 policemen during a 36-hour incident from the roof of the Howard Johnson Motel in New Orleans, Louisiana.  The same problems plaguing the Texas Tower incident were present.  The incident led the FBI to develop an anti-sniper training school.

Kroger Food Store

January 1974, Wesley Earl Evans concealed himself in a Houston Kroger Food Store and surprised 14 employees inside.  A robbery lieutenant and motorcycle officer passing by the store observed the situation, and called for additional units to respond.  After the store was surrounded, the suspect requested police officers to enter the store and talk.  The Robbery Lieutenant entered and the store and became hostage number 15.  The police chief and an inspector arrived on the scene and began negotiations.  The suspect requested and was given a police vehicle and 3 pairs of handcuffs.  The suspect then exited the store surrounded by the hostages and entered the vehicle with 3 hostages.  The situation went mobile and culminated in a crash at the end of a 100+ mph car chase.

The First SWAT Team

The Texas Tower incident highlighted law enforcement's lack of ability to handle situations that are beyond the resources of routine patrol.  More than any one incident, it was the catalyst for the formation of special weapons and tactics teams.  The Los Angeles Police Department implemented the first SWAT team in response to the need for a unit of specially trained officers to handle a noted increase in civil disorder and hostage situations.  There were many incidents involving civil disorder, many resulting in sniper fire and the first team was primarily a counter-sniper unit.  Also, the tactic of hostage taking seemed to be used more frequently by criminals.  The LAPD's first SWAT team was staffed by volunteers from the "D" Platoon, most of whom owned their own hunting rifles.  Then Mayor Darryl Gates coined the acronym of SWAT.

Purpose of SWAT

The first and foremost reason for any SWAT team is to SAVE LIVES.

Civil disorder, riots, sniper situations, hostage and barricaded gunman situations are now occurring with ever increasing frequency.  The problems associated with the proliferation of drugs, street gangs, firearms, and fortified drug houses have led law enforcement agencies to examine their methods of dealing with these special problems.  As a result, Special Weapons and Tactics (S.W.A.T.) team was created to deal with these situations that went beyond the conventional resources of patrol officers and investigative units.

A carefully selected and trained SWAT unit provides the Chief of Police with many options while dealing with a special situation.

The existence of SWAT is based upon the desire to save lives.  It has been well established that properly trained SWAT teams can reduce the risks of death and injury to all parties involved.

In today's world of ever increasing terrorist organizations and their willingness to do harm.  Nations around the world have begun to form their own specialized teams to combat the threats terrorist organizations impose.

Written by Justice 12/12/2002. Comments? tactical@specialoperationscombat.com

Recovered on 1/4/14 from web.archive.org.

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