Countering terrorist teams, part 3: The second wave response

Editor's note: Two weeks after the attacks in Mumbai, India—in which fewer than a dozen militants held at bay some 800 police for 60 hours—PoliceOne presented a special report including articles from Police1 Columnists Lt. Dan Marcou and Sgt. Glenn French, as well as analysis from Stratfor and opinion from P1 members. Today we present the final installment in this three-part series from Police1 Columnist Dick Fairburn on the important subject of police readiness and training for a Mumbai-style attack. Be sure to check out part one here, and part two here.

In the first two parts of this series, we discussed the new type of threat posed by multiple teams of terrorists attacking a city with small arms (automatic rifles and grenades). A response tactic was also proposed, that being an infantry-style variation of a Rapid Deployment team, already familiar to us from previous training for Active Shooter response. No doubt, some of you strongly disagree that we should ever consider sending teams of patrol officers to counterattack terrorist teams.

The reality is, teams of patrol officers are the only resource we will have to counter such a threat in the first few, precious minutes. Even full-time SWAT teams will require 30+ minutes to assemble, and even the SWAT assets of a large city would be unable to engage 10 separate attack sites, like those we saw in Mumbai. So, beyond the team tactics outlined in part two, what can we do to help our Rapid Deployment teams be more successful?

I covered this subject in a couple of weeks ago in part two—outlining the role of a team leader in assembling their officers—but leadership is so important, it’s worth another consideration here. Since a single city’s SWAT assets are probably too small to address multiple teams of terrorists, I suggest they be used in another way.

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