Recent Class Photos

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Training in Lava-Lavas

We recently came across some old LAPD SWAT training photos circa 1984. Now these photos do not demonstrate the equipment utilized to effectuate actual SWAT call-ups or hostage rescue etc. We were simply having a blast in attempting to run live fire drills and scenarios (shoot house included) with nominal equipment with not the faintest intention of ever having to do so in the real world. No body armor, no shirts no spare magazines… nothing, save basic weapons and that was it. Make each shot count ‘cause there’s no more when you run out. Someone sitting around during breaks would proffer, “hey I wonder if we could…” and that really was all it would take. Very macho indeed.
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Why CCW Is Not For Everyone

Simply because you can – doesn’t mean you should. The advent of CCW (Carrying a Concealed Weapon) permits should give one pause upon reflection. First and foremost is a comprehension of deadly force application laws. When, and when one should not, apply deadly force is of paramount importance. As we are both Federal and State Superior Court qualified deadly force experts for over 26 years, we are more than qualified to address this matter.

Certain parameters must be in place and facts known personally to the individual applying deadly force must also be in place prior to such application. Facts discovered post-shooting cannot be used to justify an otherwise unjustifiable application of deadly force.
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January 2018 Class Photos

Check out some our our training for this month!
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Looking Back: SWAT Camaraderie

The other day I ran the knife attack for members of ‘D’ Platoon Metro, commonly referred to as SWAT. Over the years the faces and names have changed but the attitudes (thank God) have not. There is absolutely no mercy and I mean NO mercy, from the group if you make a single misstep. Forgiveness? Not in their vocabulary or wheelhouse nor should it be. Handles (nicknames) are generally employed among the men and women, and the banter is absolutely non-stop. It is literally one line after another, after another, for as long as you’re on the range. One can simply not stop laughing at the sheer brutality of the comments aimed at each other. This is precisely how it should be.

Members of SWAT have earned the right to be counted among the ranks through years of diligent police work, expertise and of course the application process itself. It is not only the physical, but rather the mental aspect which the selection process is based upon. The stress oral (and it was indeed a stress oral in my time) was anything but a picnic. You are posited questions to which there is no right answer. They place you in predicaments through as series of unexpected questions and then sit back and simply watch you twist and turn to arrive at some semblance of a reasonable response. For example, one of my questions was the following; you are assigned to a protection detail of a Hollywood starlet who is a key witness in a murder trial. At 0300 hours she has been drinking and comes out in a bathrobe with nothing on underneath and the robe is open.
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The ITTS “Hostage Rack”

– Video of Scott Reitz discussing a hostage shot –

Those of you who have advanced to advanced level classes with us have experienced the Hostage Rack. We designed this approximately 20 plus years ago. It was born out of a necessity which the LAPD’s field procedures brought to the forefront. There have been and will always be those situations which require absolute precision in applying a singular, well defined and unforgiving shot in order to rescue others. Not all high level threats are necessarily resolved by SWAT. Some field situations will demand an immediate and unforgiving response.

A hostage shot is arguably the most demanding, high stressed and long ranging consequential shot one might ever undertake. It requires a purity of the mechanics, a resolved thought process in concert with a clinical detachment of any emotion, trepidation, anxiety or hesitancy of action. The hostage rack is a marvelous tool towards this end.
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Sound Bites

In past years I have been interviewed across local and national radio, TV news, various newspapers and such. These venues of modern communications are constantly searching for the one ubiquitous sound bite that will sum up a lifetime of experience or knowledge. It’s not uncommon for a twenty minute interview to be reduced to a 5 second “on camera” appearance. Believe it or not it can be difficult sometimes to arrive at that one, seminal distilled sentence. Hemingway purportedly arrived at a one sentence novel; “For sale, baby shoes – never worn.” Now that is brilliant.
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Looking Back: Simpler Times

Since my father was a U.S. Navy Captain for 27 years I’ve moved around quite a bit in my life. From Washington D.C. to Hospital Point, Hawaii to Levittown, New Jersey to Naples, Italy to Chelsea, Massachusetts to Bowie, Maryland to Portsmouth, Rhode Island to Marshfield, Massachusetts then on to the University of New Mexico and finally here to Los Angeles. The upside is that one is exposed to many differing cultures, mores’ and individuals.
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Breaching – Training for any Obstacle

Not everyone willingly opens their doors for the police…especially those given towards a bent of the entrepreneurial persuasion when purveying in goods which are not entirely “above board.” This leads us to the subject of “breaching,” which essentially is gaining access when access is denied.

When first in SWAT in the early ‘80’s, we would utilize handheld rams and sledgehammers to open standard doors. Steel security doors were then employed and we resorted to window entries. Then, bars were put over windows and we adapted by using hooks attached to heavy rope and vehicles to pull down the window bars or doors or both depending on the fortifications. The bad guys, not to be outdone, utilized a two stage cage system on the doors. This ingenious design utilized a steel door on the outside…a steel enclosed caged hallway of sorts leading to a secondary door deeper in the house. We went to the infamous “Battering Ram,” which utilized a long steel pole, affixed to an armored military surplus V-100 to defeat this. They went to second story structures. We responded by building a “SWAT in the Box,” which was a hydraulic ramp affixed to a dual rear tire, heavy-duty truck which elevated the entry team to the second story of our budding business professionals.

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Perception Matters

Juries are not always sympathetic to an officer’s actions in the field. In some cases this is justified and in others it is not. One should be circumspect in what one says and the manner in which one comports themselves post deadly force application. This holds true for non-law enforcement individuals as well.

Words can and do have an impact in jury perception. The world does not view your actions through the same lens as you might. What might seem quaint or humorous to one individual might seem indefensibly offensive to another. When I read articles in magazines or those posted on social media I oftentimes wince. These statements or postings are all discoverable during judicial proceedings. What one chooses to share on social media and how they choose to reflect themselves can be of critical importance down the line. There are documented cases where this has been detrimental to one’s defense. There is also a level of professionalism which much be maintained in “after action” statements.

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