Police Form Special Teams to Handle High-Risk Duty

  Police Form Special Teams to Handle High-Risk Duty

Posted by CN Staff on September 11, 2002 at 10:25:36 PT
By Eric Ferkenhoff, Tribune Staff Reporter 
Source: Chicago Tribune  

Wanting to fall in line with other big-city forces, Chicago police are creating special teams to perform high-risk entries to serve search warrants and secure crime scenes where suspects are thought to be heavily armed or expecting a raid.The new teams, which will begin operations in October, have been in the works for more than a year. Department officials hope to avoid harrowing scenes in which officers come under fire while breaking into drug houses or entering buildings to apprehend known criminals.
The two new teams, each with 10 to 15 members, would be run out of the gang and narcotics section, where officers serve at least two search warrants a day.Creating the teams has also meant outfitting its members with new weaponry, including high-powered rifles and automatic shotguns.Organized crime division chief Jerry Robinson, who oversees the gang and narcotics section, said the teams would focus on serving warrants and securing dangerous scenes for other units. Members of the teams would continue to handle drug investigations as well.But officials involved in the training said the teams could also be called up to rescue officers who have been wounded and are being held captive.These officials said two recent shootings have weighed on supervisors overseeing the training: the fatal shooting of Officer Donald Marquez, gunned down while serving a housing warrant, and the critical wounding of Detective Joseph Airhart, who was trapped for two hours by an armed bank robbery suspect while bleeding from a head wound.The shootings of Marquez and Airhart came after two other shootings in summer 2001 that left two officers dead, alarming police across the city. In the Airhart case, in fact, department officials were so worried about the reaction of the rank and file that detectives and ranking officers were dispatched to all 25 police districts to assure them that everything possible was done for him and that he was not abandoned.Chicago police officers receive some training in the academy on how to enter a risky situation, including drug houses where those inside could be armed. Units such as the department's tactical teams receive extra training, and there is also a hostage/barricade/terrorism unit to handle dangerous standoffs and negotiate with captors.But until now, the department has lacked the sort of specialized teams for high-risk entries that other cities have long had. Robinson estimated that up to 70 percent of other large departments have such units.In New York, there is the emergency services unit. In Los Angeles, like many departments, there is a SWAT team."We didn't think we ever needed one," he said. "We've been careful and lucky so far. But we know at some point luck runs out. ... We realize that at some time in the future we may run into something where we're executing a search warrant and it's a lot more than we expected."Complete Title: Police Form Special Teams to Handle High-Risk DutiesSource: Chicago Tribune (IL)Author: Eric Ferkenhoff, Tribune Staff ReporterPublished September 11, 2002Copyright: 2002 Chicago Tribune CompanyContact: ctc-TribLetter Tribune.comWebsite: Justice Archives

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Comment #5 posted by The GCW on September 13, 2002 at 20:13:13 PT
Small towns are victims of a trend in our country to organize SWAT teams. To sell towns the need for SWAT teams, police officials talk about preparedness for terrorist incidents similar to Columbine. Once trained, however, SWAT teams nationally are mostly used to serve drug warrants and make drug arrests. One study shows 66 percent of their use is for executing search and arrest warrants. We should question using SWAT military-style power for the war on drugs ( also known as the war on some plants, war for profit and the war against citizens ). There are stories of SWAT using Gestapo tactics and entering private homes to conduct drug war warrants, including too many raids at wrong addresses, with too many innocent citizens killed in as little as 11 seconds. While the police are to serve and protect, SWAT seems primed to kill. The SWAT teams are cited so many times throughout America for gross misconduct, organizations have to resort to different names that attempt to disassociate themselves from SWAT, since it induces citizens' fear. The warm fuzzy ( propagandic ) names being phased in include emergency response teams, tactical units or rapid response teams, and Summit's "Incident Management Group." A trend to cover the escalating cost for SWAT is subsidized through grants available to police departments for escalating the war on drugs. The state and federal governments give money from various sources designated for the additional cost of fighting an unwinnable war. When SWAT needs money to sustain itself, they reach to one of the only sources available, government war money ( the political gravy train ). It's effect makes a priority out of the drug war, since there are no subsidies for work on investigations involving murder, rape, armed robbery, etc. It is preposterous for police to cage drug users and less financially lucrative to attack real crime. There is also a direct correlation between what a state spends on education and how many people that state incarcerates. The war uses the school money. One of the sickest examples shows the state that spends the most on education is the state that incarcerates the least humans, and vice versa. Minnesota's ranking among U.S. incarceration rates: 51 ( includes the District of Columbia ). Minnesota's ranking among U.S. education-spending per capita: 1. District of Columbia's ranking among U.S. incarceration rates: 1. District of Columbia's ranking among U.S. education-spending per capita: 51. America it is In God We Trust, not prohibitionist politicians. Help end the war, not escalate it. That will require Christ God and the Holy Spirit of Truth, not SWAT. 
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Comment #4 posted by dddd on September 12, 2002 at 01:57:13 PT
..I'll betchya...
..we will be seeing alot more of these 'enhanced',,SWAT 'response units',,or whatever....The homeland security/war on terror charade has opened the gates for justifying even more paramilitary law enforcement cliques/( cells?) ............Now,,,just watch as the line is blurred between drug enforcers,and anti-terror enforcers. I think we will see the two melt convieniently together,as the underhanded dark powers of the evil empire , continue to twist and erase the line between LEOs,and military factions.....dddd
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Comment #3 posted by FoM on September 11, 2002 at 14:50:54 PT

Found This Kapt
Chicago SWAT
Dropping In, But Not For Dinner Chicago, a unit of this type is called a tactical or a gang crimes unit. Officers in these units, make up the bulk of the Chicago Police Department Hostage-Barricade-Terrorism (HBT) team. Tactical officers, in Chicago, have always been known for their aggressiveness.
Complete Article:
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Comment #2 posted by kaptinemo on September 11, 2002 at 13:13:17 PT:

Maybe I am betraying ignorance here
But doesn't Chicago already have SWAT teams? Why this?
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Comment #1 posted by Dark Star on September 11, 2002 at 10:36:21 PT

At the risk of offending any LEO's out there, it would seem to be the case that there are alternatives to the "megaton" approach that is currently employed, especially considering that the drug kingpins often possess greater megatonnage.What is wrong with doing the original detective work properly and arresting suspects on the street when they go out to eat? When a building or apartment must be stormed, why not check the address a couple of times first, and then use non-lethal force such as teargas, mace or TASER's? Lives might be saved on both sides.It seems that brute force and inadequate imagination go together.
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