POLICE Magazine

AUG 2019

Magazine for police and law enforcement

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POLICEMAG.COM 31 service. Civil libertarians and activists argue that SWAT is being used far too often to serve warrants for what they view as non-violent drug offenses. Experienced SWAT officers say that sometimes tactical units are called out on warrants that could just as safely have been accomplished by patrol or detectives. "I don't think SWAT is be- ing overused," says Heal, but he adds that he is concerned that "…the con- cept works so well that it is easy to use it when other options would be just as effective." But in answer to the critics who say SWAT should not be used to serve war- rants for non-violent drug suspects, all of the tactical police experts contacted for this story pointed out that the press and public are not always aware of what information was used to determine why SWAT should serve a drug warrant. e risk involved in a particular warrant service is not always apparent from the nature of the offense, they say. "I am a firm believer that SWAT should be used for high-risk warrants, violent crime search warrants, and drug warrants because drugs and guns go together," says McLaughlin. NTOA's Eells, who served with Col- orado Springs SWAT and retired as commander of the Special Enforcement Division, believes not all drug war- rants should require SWAT, but some should. "What we have been advocating through NTOA is that a very careful risk analysis be conducted before a SWAT team be committed to a specific war- rant service," Eells says. Unfortunately, intelligence on a sus- pect or location is not always available, not always taken into consideration, and can be wrong. McLaughlin points to the deadly Florence, SC, incident of 2018 as an example of a warrant service that in hindsight should have been con- ducted by SWAT. In that incident, two Florence-area law enforcement officers were killed and three others wounded in a gun battle, not with the 28-year-old subject of the warrant, but his 74-year- old father. e warrant stemmed from an investigation into sexual assaults on minors, and the deputies serving the warrant that day had no forewarning of how the father would respond. Eells says another factor that leads to critics arguing that SWAT is overused for warrant service is that they tend to throw all law enforcement special units into the "SWAT" category. "A lot of their reports are not well researched," he says. "ey fail to differentiate between narcotics units, fugitive apprehension teams, and SWAT teams." e confu- sion is caused because many SWAT critics see any law enforcement team dressed in tactical gear as a SWAT team, according to Eells. DIAL IT IN HS503 R H O L O S U N . C O M HS403 R • Rotary Dial Brightness Control • Up to a 100,000 Hour Battery Life • Parallax Free & Unlimited Eye Relief • IP67 Certified Waterproof • 2 MOA DOT • Multi-Function Rotary Dial • Up to a 100,000 Hour Battery Life* • Parallax Free & Unlimited Eye Relief • IP67 Certified Waterproof • Multi-Reticle System™ (MRS): 65 MOA Circle & 2 MOA Dot; 2 MOA Dot *Dot Reticle Only N E W F O R 2 0 1 9 PHOTO: FR ANKLIN R AU/HT TPS://FSR AU.SMUGMUG.COM

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