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November 17, 2010
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Lt. Dan Marcou Blue Knights
with Lt. Dan Marcou

Wisc. SWAT resolves standoff with armed man

Dane County SWAT did an excellent job of slowing things down, establishing a perimeter and communications with the suspect, whose actions demonstrated he was dangerous

“Wisc. man accused of shooting TV over Palin Dance.” The article that followed this headline this morning was written by the same type of reporters who write headlines like, “Cops Kill Youth,” and “Police Pursuit Over Faulty Tail Light Kills Motorist.” Readers have to research the case on their own in order to find out that the youth was a 17-year-old murder suspect who brought a loaded Beretta to bear on a police officer. Those same readers have to do some digging to discover that the fleeing motorist was a wanted career criminal who was looking forward to a lengthy prison sentence if captured.

There are many journalists in the national media who have more empathy for criminals than victims. Over the years, I’ve watched journalists act as apologists for criminals, while serving as antagonists of the police — or anyone else against whom they have a biased view. This article, from Associated Press, shows that journalists are willing to minimize the actions of a dangerous and abusive husband to embarrass the young daughter of Sarah Palin.

For the facts about what happened in this matter, we have to turn to the Dane County Sheriff’s Department press release.

“At approximately 8:00 pm on Monday, November 15th, Dane County Sheriff’s Deputies were called to 4616 CTH JJ in the town of Vermont for an armed suicidal subject.

“A female resident of the home reported her husband was intoxicated, armed, and threatening to commit suicide. The woman had fled from the home after her husband fired a shotgun at a television inside the house. The Sheriff’s Office Tactical Response Team and Hostage Negotiation Team responded to the scene and a parameter was established around the property. Negotiators were able to communicate with the man who reportedly suffers from psychiatric issues, but he refused to come out of the house. Deputies remained on the scene throughout the night to monitor his safety and to work on a peaceful resolution to the situation.”

“The female resident was not injured in the altercation and she is currently in a safe location…”

I’m none too fond of the press’ unfair handling of both law enforcement and the Palin family. They appear often to be chronically biased against both, which leads to jaundiced and even inaccurate reporting.

The wife’s performance is laudable. She recognized that she was in danger, fled the scene and called the police saving herself.

From there, the Dane County SWAT Team did an excellent job of slowing things down. They established a perimeter and communications with the suspect, whose actions demonstrated he was dangerous. They were patient and persistent in their communications and ultimately were successful in obtaining a peaceful resolution after 14 hours. Then, shortly after 1100 hours today, 67-year-old Steven Cowan surrendered without incident. He has been booked into the Dane County Jail on tentative charges of Domestic Disorderly Conduct and 2nd Degree Reckless Endangerment of Safety.

Because of the wife’s brave actions to save herself and get the help of the police, and because of the excellent work by Dane County SWAT, we don’t have to deal today with the headline “Palin Daughter Dances on TV, Causes Husband to Kill Wife Then Self.”

One more thing I have to comment on that was overlooked by the suspect and the press in this incident. Even though it is beyond my area of expertise, I have been asked to give an opinion about the incident, so here it is, free of any bias. Bristol Palin’s Paso Doble’s was well danced. It was danced with passion and flawless execution. I give her a 10.


About the author

Lt. Dan Marcou retired as a highly decorated police lieutenant and SWAT Commander with 33 years of full time law enforcement experience. He is a nationally recognized police trainer in many police disciplines and is a Master Trainer in the State of Wisconsin. He has authored three novels The Calling: The Making of a Veteran Cop , S.W.A.T. Blue Knights in Black Armor, and Nobody's Heroes are all available at Barnes and Noble and Amazon.com. Visit his website and contact Dan Marcou





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