A Critique: Handling Hostage Situations

Hi. I’m Jeff. Revin. SCFD Paramedic in Charge. Former NCPD Assistant Chief, so that should count for something straight off the bat.
not trying to be obnoxious or rude or anything, just putting it out there.

Over the last few hours or so, in Stapleton, we’ve had a bunch of hostage situations. Now, normally our LEOs, or Law Enforcement Officers, are pretty smart people. I respect them for what they do; they have a pretty stressful job.
inb4 ‘is EMS more stressful than LEO’ argument reignition

However, I’d just like to focus on one hostage situation in particular. This took place not even half an hour ago, and is what I personally consider to be one of the lesser quality situations I’ve witnessed.

This is going to be a half rant, half attempt at trying to educate everyone as to what should happen during one of these. I’m not sure of the mindset of SWAT members while they’re rolling in a giant Lenco BearCat, but- just read.

Classic hostage situation. Suspect in a pursuit, three hostages in the car, smashes into the Car Dealership, gets out, runs in, dragging the hostages along.
So, hostage taker with a gun, at least three hostages. LEOs from the pursuit pull up, and a bunch of them, as usual, have forgotten to turn their sirens off (not that i’m blaming them).
Calls start coming in from the hostages and people inside CD; there’s a guy with a gun, there’s at least three people inside, he’s going to shoot the hostages if anyone comes in. Only option, of course, is negotiation, which doesn’t happen at all in what I’m about to describe.

Several problems arise at this point:

  1. Inefficient management.
  • Normally, everyone runs on either TAC1 or TAC2. This time, though, all communications are scattered across all channels, if there even were communications. Otherwise, everyone just used PRMY, and even if everyone on scene did go on PRMY, almost no one on scene did use the radio.
  • Plus, no one even called that the pursuit had stopped, and that there was now an active hostage situation at CD. The only way we [medical] knew to roll was just checking the calls list.
  • As medics, the procedure when we arrive at an active police situation is we just pick a safe spot to sit and ‘stage’, and state that we’re in the area and able to roll in. Over a period of time, we just contact units on scene and ask if the scene’s safe, and if we’re able to enter. However, no one short of a single SCSO deputy decided to tell us we could move into the scene, and even then, the hostage situation was over. Code 4. Completely cleared, no one to roleplay with, no one to treat.
  1. Handling information.
    As far as I saw, no one even took a look at the calls relating to the hostage situation. No one even claimed them. This could have given them information vital to what was about to happen; there were three or so hostages inside, the suspect had a gun, etc. At the peak of the amount of calls, there had to be at least seven calls from the hostages and suspect inside CD, instructing LEOs on what was going on. All of them were ignored until the situation was C4 and the calls were cleared.

  2. Perimeters.
    Going to make this part short: what I saw was nothing short of, well, a not secure scene at all. All you had was this one unit blocking the front road into the CD parking lot with cones, and everyone else was pointing guns at the door. I counted at least three civilian vehicles in the area, not including the suspect’s, and at least five civilians in the CD parking lot when the situation was cleared.

  3. SWAT.
    Now, this part is what I was focusing on. Now, I don’t blame everyone for what they did. Who I am blaming, however, is SWAT and their actions tonight. Notice how the previous topics, minus perimeters, have accumulated into this section here.

  • We don’t know what radio channel we’re communicating on.
  • No one knows what’s going on inside the Dealership.
  • No one sees the twenty million calls stacked up on the 911 calls GUI.
  • No one knows that there’s three hostages inside, and that they shouldn’t enter the Dealership.

Know what SWAT does?
Pulls up to the scene, whips out a rifle, and instantly prepares to breach. They even call it on the radio, and no one (short of me) tries to object to them.
Nope. Straight in. By the time I try to get on the radio to halfhandedly berate them for their recklessness, shots fired. Reports of one hostage down. Another few moments, another set of shots, no reports on anyone else down, then the suspect’s down. SWAT exits, everyone begins packing up, we’re instructed to roll three minutes later, when most of the units are already starting back down Redwood Boulevard.
We pull up, all the Candidates and I pile out of the medical rigs, we sweep the area for victims. No one’s found. Guess they’re all dead, then! Fission mailed!
The hell, SWAT? Thanks to you, you’ve killed three or so hostages.

I know, I know, I’m probably all over the place with this thing. But I’m also going to try to make this a learning experience for everyone reading this from FSP, SCSO, and especially SWAT.

You’re not invincible. You’re not a god who gets to choose if someone lives or dies.
If you have a hostage taker with a gun, and three hostages at their will, you simply DO NOT run in. Make sure you have all your crap together before you make a move in a dangerous situation.
Once you’re out of pursuit mode, get a perimeter. Alert all units that might be pulling up on PRMY to change to the designated channel. Check calls for anything new that might be useful. Contact medics, have them staged, and keep them updated. When they’re needed, call them. Act slow, take it easy. Don’t just rush in playing hero.

SWAT got three hostages killed today because they tried to play hero. Learn from this.

Have a good evening.

edit: formatting

edit II: to address the growing controversy:

  • No, I’m not trying to start a department war. If I did, I would have mentioned SCFD and how godly we are a lot more times.
  • No, I’m not trying to say our LEOs and SWAT officers are shit. They’re good people trying to do a good thing, and trained on how to do it. Things didn’t work out how they were supposed to properly, and that’s why I’m here.
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Whenever this happens I set up a perimeter and get backup to the scene and wait for CRT/NG/SWAT whoever is on. Whoever just runs in needs to redo POST.

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I dont know why, but SWAT always likes to breach/run in, I saw them negotiating only 1 time, other times SWAT is just trying to breach, even when I am negotiating. Lack of communication is also a problem.
Recently I had a hostage situation at Arborfield. So, we cant find the hostage, hostage taker (I’ll call him HT) demands us to go to the hospital. We stay there, suddenly HT is driving away in a car, IO and 1 SWAT op are following him what a surprise, I was ordered to take the other SWAT op and drive behind. That is the point where proper communication ended. I stop at SCFD station, because I was waiting for a proper distance. Suddenly, some SCFD EMS paramedic fucks up the situation and I have to respond. I hear “Redwood bridge!”, I am coming there and everything I see is… a suicide jumper. I ask for a location of the suspect, but I get no answer. Finally I get an answer, he’s at CD, I respond there with a second SWAT op, we pull up, make a perimeter at our best (Only 2 LEOs, I didnt call others because they just wouldn’t get there in time) and prepare to breach. Then we get an info that they are heading to farms and there is no one at CD. Why no one didnt tell us that before? Then I head to farms, I see cars there, people, SWAT operative. I dont know was HT arrested, I see no hostages, I dont know anything, I wasnt told anything, he’s not saying anything on radio. I just drive off assuming HT was arrested. I never saw hostages, I never saw a hostage taker nor their car. And the thing that makes that situation even worse, is that the SWAT operative that didnt communicate with anyone is a SWAT Captain… All that time I was just following random locations and I didnt even know is HT there or no, I didnt know if something is going on, everything I knew is that one hostage was killed at the Redwood bridge and that’s all.

P.S.
No this is not disrespect, it’s just a criticism. Also sorry for the wall of text, I am just too lazy to fix it.

meow

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The only good hostage situation I have seen that had proper communication, negotiation, and tactics, was a situation at the sporting goods center back in January. But then the game crashed.

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I was negotiating in that situation and I was that CRT.

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I was there. Phenomenal. DHS:CRT took control. No wonder it went so well…

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@Jeffrevin you should join FSP

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I appreciate all the comments made. I’ll be speaking with SWAT to ensure this doesn’t happen again.

My messages are open on discord if you would like to make any suggestions. All will be considered.

SCSO Captain
SCSO SWAT Team Captain
M4SST3RM1N4T0R

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Ok first off We do negotiate

yesterday I was a negotiator for a hostage situation in redwood at the pool,

second dont make a threat shit talking another department

we have high command for a reason

also swat is not a primary job, we deploy when needed, if there is millions of stacked calls for 911 thats uniformed patrol job

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Any formal complaints in regards to the Special Weapons & Tactics Team should be brought up in my direct messages.

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Nah, former NCPD Assistant Chief is fine enough for me. I might look into it, but no guarantees.

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Hostage situations have been handled poorly

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@BangaBus_Quit

This is the same person who kept insisting that officers had a higher job than medics.
Not gonna argue with that here.

okay, well, too bad. I’m talking about a time when no one did anything productive, including negotiations. You might have done them, but I could hardly give less of a damn right now.

Unfortunately, there’s something called speech, the freedom to use it, and I’ll make a thread shit talking another department whenever I please. This is a critique and a criticism. I want you to learn from it, not just see it as a block of text ranting about how stupid your damn department is.

As if I would have names to report.

This doesn’t excuse the actions of SWAT. You went through the same POST training, and then whatever training you took for SWAT, and you still somehow manage to screw this up.

Except none of them were 911s from other locations. And if it is a uniform’s job, then they have to relay that information, which is another topic I went over.

edit: somehow it didn’t add onto the replies for said post, added on a tag and specified post in question

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@Jeffrevin Ok first off if your ganna be a complete asshole and shit talk other departments stay on topic

Dont bring up your own departmental bullshit to increase your chances of making our department look like shit,

Alright, Ill just go to dps…

also last thing, how about insted of making an entire fucking book about how you thing were shit

YOU GO DO YOUR FUCKING JOB!!!

CAUSE 99% OF THE GOD DAMN TIME THERE ISNT A PARAMEDIC ON

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TL;DR Right, so SWAT needs to improve with hostage situations, normal units need to maintain a perimeter and everyone needs to communicate a bit more. I’m sure that’s easy to sort out. And I hope it is.

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so do i, my friend, so do i.

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I attempted to fix the discrepancies between what occurs on duty and what SWAT policies state. You see, further training and everything was regulated, but never enforced. The newer operatives, joined in time of conflict among the command and pure laziness.

Wish I could fix it, but going SCFD.

  • Former SWAT EX, SouthernMorality.
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This is being looked into. The Stapleton County Sheriff’s Office Special Weapons and Tactics team is requesting information on who was on scene. If you have that information please direct it towards American_Honor#8810 on discord.

-American_Honor
SCSO:SWAT Executive Officer

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nah im good

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okay well for starters I’m pretty tired and it’s 11:06 PM so I’m gonna make this quick

as if I said anything other than ‘shit went wrong, SWAT fucked up, here’s how I think we can fix this for the future’

not trying to make SWAT look like shit, they’re good people trying to do a job, it’s just that somewhere along the line something went wrong and someone fucked up horribly, and that’s why I’m here, you’re here, and we’re doing this thing between each other. again.

lemme just ring up the judicial system.
nah. mate, as far as I’m concerned, if I see a problem, I’m talking about a problem, no matter if it’s you, or me, or the people I work with. In this world, you don’t speak up, something happens, we all get screwed over. Same thing happened with the Challenger disaster. Someone didn’t talk about the O rings, seven people died.

maybe we live in different timezones. there’s never an LEO on when SCFD gets shot to hell and back on calls.
I save lives, you police the county. We both do our jobs.
What we gotta address is this damned staffing shortage, and in two weeks we’re still gonna have that shortage when people suddenly retire because we’re “too boring”.

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