Dealing with a coordinated, multiple-location terrorist attack

Multiple Attack Counter Terror Action Capabilities — or MACTAC — is a blend of USMC fire-team tactics and current Police active shooter tactics

“Everything’s going to change.” Those were the words that Bill Murphy, longtime Huntington Beach SWAT Cop and Gunsite Rangemaster said to me as we watched the coverage of the 2008 Mumbai attacks on the TV in the Gunsite Instructors’ cabin in early December of that year. Boy was he right. A couple weeks after that exchange I was called into my Captains office and assigned a new collateral duty, I would be working on a regional response to just such an attack. It was going to be called MACTAC and it was going to control my life for the next six months.

The first meeting went remarkably smooth, given the number of type A personalities in the room. The initial concept, as laid out by Lt. Pete Zarcone and Officer Joe Witty, was fairly straightforward — a blend of USMC fire-team tactics and current Police active shooter tactics. Overseeing the project was Deputy (now Assistant) Chief Sandy Jo MacArthur, and she was adamant that not only should the tactics be easy to teach, but they should also be principle based, so that any agency, regardless of size, could adopt them.

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