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Tactical Crisis Management - The Challenge of the 80's

NCJ Number
FBI Law Enforcement Bulletin Volume: 49 Issue: 11 Dated: (November 1980) Pages: 20-25
W R Olin
Date Published
6 pages
This article reviews historical developments in police tactical response techniques and provides a concrete framework for planning and executing a sophisticated emergency response.
The Los Angeles Police Department pioneered the development and training of a Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) team in the early 1970's, and law enforcement agencies throughout the country copied this model of tactical response. A SWAT team is composed of five permanent team members: a team leader, a marksman, an observer, a scout, and a rear guard. Each team member is cross-trained in the duties of the other members, and and teams may be combined for special missions. Although some agencies have integrated hostage negotiation techniques into the response concept, a new total systems approach capable of handling increasingly sophisticated criminal and terrorist tactics has not appeared in this country. As a result of the experiences with terrorists during the 1972 Olympics in Munich, the Bavarian State Police in West Germany have developed a total approach which may serve as a model. The approach considers the proper tactical response as too complex for a small cross-trained team; thus, it defines a division of labor with specific job tasks for each member. The model provides for five groups. The countersniper group requires a leader-communications officer and two marksmen. The assault group is responsible for inner perimeter control, entry, and armed assault; it requires a minimum of seven officers -one for each side of the target and three or more for any actual assault. The negotiations group requires at least two negotiators who have been trained in psychological communication techniques and who can speak a foreign language. The intelligence group consists of at least three officers who are responsible for developing background information on the offenders involved. Members with technical knowledge could provide for electronic surveillance. Photographs, diagrams, and footnotes are included.