SWAT options for multiple shooter terrorist attacks

Police officers need to prepare to tactically resolve a mass hostage siege


By Lt. Andrew Esposito

The threat of an international terrorist attack against our country is not to be taken lightly by law enforcement professionals. In fact, I see it being taken very seriously in the New York Metropolitan area; agencies are meeting, communicating and taking proactive steps to counter potential terrorist efforts.

As professional police officers we are all aware of the threat. The training is out there to provide information and resources on how to deal with terrorism, whether it is domestic or foreign. In this article I would like to address one area that I feel we in law enforcement need to take action on immediately. The immediate employment of police officers to a terrorist attack as first responders is inevitable; I believe that the one thing that is not being addressed is what is going to happen to those first responding officers. We train our police officers in rapid deployment tactics which will serve them well against a violent act by a lone gunman, or even the likes of Harris and Klebold (Columbine shooters). But let’s face it, police officers employing rapid deployment tactics against a hardened target defended by a determined enemy with automatic weapons, interlocking fields of fire and hand grenades will not fare well. There is a high likelihood that the assault will be turned away, and at a bloody cost.

We often speak about the recent terrorist tactic of a mass hostage siege. This is when a group of terrorists take and hold some type of structure, stabilize the target area and hold a prolonged hostage event. Examples of this tactic are:

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