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Time vs. opportunity in hostage rescue

The balance between the expenditure of time and the rapid exploitation of opportunity can make or break a barricade-hostage situation. “Often command staff thinks if they can wait out the hostage-taker, there’ll be a better chance of resolving the incident nonviolently,” says SWAT instructor Mark Schlegel. “In reality that’s not always the case.”

A mind-set that favors the expenditure of time and a strict adherence to the prior approval of all actions through the chain of command, over the empowerment of personnel to use their own initiative so they can act on unexpected opportunities, may end up costing innocent lives.

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