Patrol Officers Increasingly Trained in SWAT-team Skills


Portland, Or., police officers are trained with advanced stills that traditionally have been reserved for police tactical teams, reports The Oregonian. After the Columbine school shooting — when the nation watched in horror as police waited for SWAT teams to rescue the wounded — larger police agencies have been providing more intensive training for the patrol officers first on the scene. “If a citizen or officer is in a field of fire, it’s our obligation to remove them as fast as we can,” said Ronald McCarthy, a police consultant who retired as an assistant commander from the Los Angeles Police Department. “Sometimes SWAT teams aren’t there when the world is coming down.”

Thomas Aveni, a New Hampshire officer who serves as executive director of the Police Policy Studies Council, said there’s been a greater emphasis over the last decade on preparing all ranks of police for what’s called “active shooter” situations, from issuing patrol officers rifles to teaching how to rescue a wounded officer. “Especially post-Columbine, there’s been a trickle down of SWAT techniques to patrol officers,” Aveni said. Portland police have been teaching the officer-evacuation training for at least a decade in its advanced academy. It was developed specifically for street officers to remove a wounded cop from a shooting zone to a safe location and into the hands of emergency medics as quickly as possible. In such a situation, police are taught to fill three roles: one to fire rounds toward the suspect’s location to neutralize the threat; at least one to carry out the wounded officer; and a lead-out officer to help guide the cover-fire officer out of the area once the wounded cop is removed.

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