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Ep 51: Listener Question - Who Sets Tactical?

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Episode 51: Listener Question - Who Sets Tactical?

This week are live on the road with the ASIM team in New York City. Today we are answering a former ASIM student's question on "Who sets tactical with only three or four officers on duty?"

Bill Godfrey:

Bill Godfrey: Welcome to the Active Shooter Incident Management Podcast. My name is Bill Godfrey, your podcast host. I have with me today, three of the C3 instructors, Kevin Burd, our Director of Training. Kevin, thanks for being here today.

Kevin Burd:

Thanks for having me, Bill.

Bill Godfrey:

All right. And we got Jason Kelley. Jason, good to have you here.

Jason Kelley:

Thank you, sir.

Bill Godfrey:

Or, as we call him, Slide Deck. And we have Coby Briehn. Coby, welcome back.

Coby Briehn:

Thanks for having me.

Bill Godfrey:

All right, so today we got something a little bit different for our topic today. We actually have an audience question. The question comes from a former student of ours from an ASIM course, and he says, "I work for a university police department in a city of about a hundred thousand. Our active shooter instructors have a question about setting up tactical. If we only have three or four armed officers on duty, such as the weekends or second shifts or third shifts." And the question is, "if we only have three officers to respond, do we send in a two-officer contact team and keep the third for tactical to manage the city and county officers who respond into the campus? Or do we give up tactical to have our third officer make entry and search for the threat and let the city officer take the lead on running tactical operations?" He goes on to say, "There's been some discussion both ways. There's not a consensus." And he is asking if we could provide a recommendation and the reasoning why we would recommend that as our course of action.

So, a number of interesting things here. He's concerned about the shifts where they've only got three or four officers on duty. Okay, so that's first of all. So, obviously, they got backup coming from the city and the county. I'm guessing one of the questions you guys have is, what's our response time for the city and the county? Let's assume the city's going to be right there because the university's in the city, a couple minutes, they're there pretty quick. And for the county, let's say it's a little bit longer, a little over 10 minutes for that. Before we get rolling on thoughts, does anybody have any other questions that they want to ask about it?

Kevin Burd:

My first question would be, what is the standard policies and procedures that they would operate under? Is everybody who's responding under the same guidance? Is it a countywide response plan? Is it three individual plans? That would probably dictate some of our answers or thoughts on this.

Bill Godfrey:

I think those are both great questions. And actually, I asked him a couple of those questions and he did give me some additional information. He said that they all three have some common training, but they have different policies and procedures. The university police has adopted the ASIM process. The others haven't gone quite that far. They've had to negotiate some things, so instead of tactical taking up the position and doing staging, they have tactical go to the door and control everything at the door. The other thing that I think is important to mention, is they do not have compatible communication systems. The university police doesn't have the ability to go to the city channels and the city police do not have the ability to go to the university channels. All right? Any other questions before we start talking or who wants to lead off?

Jason Kelley:

Oh, I'll lead off. This is Jason. I'll lead off. I guess my first concern is, three agencies on three separate channels. If you're going to place a university officer outside the tactical as that third officer, and sending to his contact teams to stop the killing. To me, that probably makes sense. So, they have direct line of communication from tactical to the interior units, additional resources responding. My opinion is, you need to then send a city and county to tactical, to that university officer, so now we have communications for additional responding officers.

Bill Godfrey:

All right. That's a tough call, right? I mean, you've only got three or four gun-toters to begin with, we're going to minus one to keep them outside to try to coordinate the rest of this response. Coby, what do you think? Two going in real quick with hopefully a couple more coming in a few minutes?

Coby Briehn:

Right. All good considerations. Off the top of my head, I'm thinking where in the building? Is it a multi-story building? That would lead me towards having somebody there at the doorway or the crisis-site entry to relay that, to follow-on responders, initial responders of, "hey, you're going to the seventh floor," that kind of thing. If you need access passes, all this stuff, getting key cards to them. They may be collecting up key cards from officers that are coming to give to other follow-on responders. You may have to put those relays in place to get officers into the multiple stories, but obviously the communication's going to be the big thing.

And if, let's play on the other side of it, if they don't have communication issues or compatibility, then we're simply running individual contact teams that would have no communication, so everybody's going to self-dispatch, which is defeating the entire organizational process. I would hope there's a way to integrate that, having county, state, and city guys all in there, so the radio frequencies are in play. But the goal is to go in and stop the killing, obviously. If you can do that with two or three and then have that fourth or fifth at the door to relay it on as to what they need upstairs or down the hallway, that's going to be the best bet for me, I would believe.

Bill Godfrey:

All right, Kevin, what's your quick reaction.

Kevin Burd:

So, a few things are coming to mind here and Coby just touched on it. Where are we in this incident? And what environment are we working in? If we have active stimulus, we obviously have to address that threat, so obviously the first couple officers need to go in. And I think back to a lot of incidents I've been involved in, where we've had to integrate other teams on the tactical side to work together because we weren't sharing the same radio communication. They don't have it in place, but we need to look at, if we don't have it in place, how are we going to integrate that? By leaving somebody from university, as an example, there and the city or the county comes in, we need to integrate because we need to manage this thing at some point. We can't have teams working inside individually, right? Somebody's got to be in charge.So we need to agree...

Bill Godfrey:

Otherwise we end up blue on blue, we're doing duplicate work. We're missing things.

Kevin Burd:

Absolutely, a hundred percent. We need to organize that. And I think part of the question was too, do we lose that interoperability or communications when we go inside? Can we operate in there? And the relays that Coby was talking about has come into play in some of these incidents and we need to coordinate all that. Where are we in our priorities? Is it still an active threat or do we not have stimulus? Now we're going into the rescue part, but we have to manage this, right? Somebody has to put the brakes on and manage this scene. And if it's going to be an integrated response, multiple agencies coming, how do we integrate that communications and command so we're all on the same page to avoid those blue on blues and everything else?

Bill Godfrey:

Sure, sure. I'm going to step back from this question, the specifics of this question, which are very tactical in nature, and I get, and put my chief's hat on and look at the bigger picture here. To me, there's two ongoing problems that the chiefs, the chiefs at the university, the chiefs at the city, the chiefs or the sheriff at the county, that they own and need to solve.

Number one, inability to operate on each other's radios. As a guy that spent a number of years working with interoperable radio technology, I can tell you from a technology perspective, we solved this problem 15-20 years ago. There is no reason, even if you're operating on different bands, there is no technical reason that you cannot have one system be connectable to a different system. That is a technical problem that can be solved, probably a dozen different ways and some of those ways of solving that are not expensive.

That's to me, problem number one and one of the lowest hanging fruit and the quickest things to fix, is to get that interoperability across their radios fixed immediately. And that's an issue for leadership, that's got to work it out. And there's going to be a little bit of cost there. Who's going to bear that cost and how are they going to divvy up those responsibilities? That might even hit the elected officials or the city manager, the county manager, things like that. That's problem number one.

Problem number two, is that they're not all on the same policy and procedure. A police department for a city of a hundred thousand is not a big enough police department that they're going to take care of an active shooter event on their own. They're going to have other agencies and entities from the county and every place else coming in. You need to get everybody on the same policy. Once again, that's a leadership issue, where we need to push through the politics, the relational challenges, history, the biases. We've got to find common ground and get everyone on the same page.

And what I would say is, his whole question, the fundamental basis of his question of, can those first three officers go in? Or do I need to sacrifice an officer early on to stay outside? Well, you know what? If you've got interoperability on your radios and everybody's trained on the same process, all those officers can go in because the city guys following behind you are going to know how to set up command. They're going to know how to structure this. They're going to know how to carry on the response. Same thing with the county guys. The problem is when we don't have that, now you're having to make a really difficult choice, which is exactly... And I get that's exactly the debate that's going on, a really difficult choice.

But what I hear you guys saying is you got to leave that guy out, that third guy out. And I agree with you because, if everybody goes in and you've got no coms, you're going to be the one isolated. You're going to have no idea what they've done, no idea how they're going to manage it, how they're going to organize the thing. And it's just a prescription for a disaster. Here's the other thing, and I think a couple of you were alluding to this. Coby, when you were talking about the key cards, how many floors is the thing? The university cops know the building. They know the layout, they know the environment, they know the keys, they know the access. They know the notification systems to put the campus on lockdown. If they're all inside, none of that's getting done.

I think the lesser of the evils here, from my perspective, is you've got to sacrifice that one extra guy, the last guy, to stay out, begin the incident management process and be that expert on the building to communicate. And then those first couple of officers that get there from the city, you push them in and get them linked up with a team that's already inside. You begin to mix and match, share radios, get one of the city people that stays with the other officer outside. We haven't really talked about that.

And let's jump to that. Let's take a pause. Let's assume that one of the campus cops stays outside, takes tactical and is running it at the door. Now city guys come up, they're on a different radio channel. County guys come up, they're on a different radio channel. Guys, talk about how you would see that working at the tactical level.

Coby Briehn:

How I could see it, sitting here thinking about it, is this question has probably been discussed, like you mentioned, for the last several years. Because if it's a university, then they have sporting events, concerts, things where they've had to work together. I'm hoping that this question has been asked. Another question that would be concerning is, if they're just having dispatch call each other and basically telling dispatch and then dispatch telling the other agencies dispatch over the phone, how things or what they're doing, if we're having... That's the relay system that they have into play. Off the top of my head, when you're having the relays and the multiple radio channel difficulties like I had mentioned earlier, essentially, we're just going into solo responder events then. And so the agencies aren't able to talk to each other and everything's going to get duplicated or missed. That's the options that you have is, it either should have been answered before you go there and have this and the best way to do it without it being answered is, you've got to have communications there to direct it and control it.

Jason Kelley:

Good point, Coby. To take it a step further, I see additional responding officers from the city or the county are going to link up with the university tactical positions, so you'll have basically, in essence, three tactical positions that are covered from law enforcement. Instead of that tactical transport triage three, we're going to have basically that five, tactical is going to be operating under three personnel. Exactly how we communicate from fire and EMS and law enforcement because they're standing co-located. Same thing would have to happen here. You've got three different radio channels, three people have to stand next to each other in order to communicate. Something comes over city, he can turn to university, he can turn to county, relay that information. Now he can send it out to their contact teams, university sends it out to their contact team and vice versa.

Bill Godfrey:

Okay. Kevin?

Kevin Burd:

A few things are going through my mind right now, listening to Coby and Jason talk about this. Number one, we don't want to have this problem the day something happens.

Bill Godfrey:

Oh boy.

Kevin Burd:

Training, joint training, regional training. We all need to get on the same page, which goes back to, Bill, you mentioning before about getting in the room. And one of our instructors coined that phrase, "leave the PPE at the door," right? Leave the politics, the personalities, and the egos of the door. Get inside, figure out what the larger response is going to look like, when you have these resource challenges and start gearing your training towards that, so we are on the same page and not figuring this out the day that it comes. Communications-wise, that's been answered for quite some time now. We just need to continue to have those conversations and get on the same page and knowing the environments that we're going to be working in. The university is asking this question and I don't know the answer to this. Have they had joint trainings there? Are they bringing city and county in so they know the environment they're going to be working in? Instead of, and it sounds like they are all together.

Bill Godfrey:

Hopefully. And are they including fire EMS, their com centers, their emergency management?

Kevin Burd:

Absolutely. And it actually reminds me of, from the SWAT or the tactical side, drilling that tactical position when SWAT arrives and we start to see that transition into tactical teams. As an example, I would integrate one of our team leaders in that tactical position, so they are in communication face-to-face with that tactical officer because we're working on separate channels and everything else. Vocally for me, we had that discussion, we could move over to a channel that we all share, but that's not the case and the question that's being asked right now. You may have the five headed beast instead of the three headed fluffy that we talk about in some of our trainings.

Bill Godfrey:

Yeah. All right, I think that's a pretty solid way to answer, provides our reasoning or rationale for it. I do want to pivot to one other piece of this that caught my attention. And that was, that they have their tactical position go up to the door and actually work the door, be door control. Now, let me say, this is of course out of my domain, so I want to come around to you guys to think what you think about that. But the one thing that does occur to me is, doesn't that assume that there's only one door that's going to be in use? And that seems a little odd, especially for large building structures like that. What do you guys think about tactical being right up at the door and trying to control people? Not having staging back away from the scene, but instead having everybody staged right up at the door, trying to organize your teams at the door.

Coby Briehn:

The problems I see with that are, what we are talking about is, let's presume it's a residence hall where there's going to be multiple entry points. And are the follow-ons all coming to that same entry point? Are they coming into the front door? Are they going into the side door? All that communication has to be relayed out before. I could see dispatches making the calls to other agencies of, go to the A-side, the one side, the front door, right there, and then make that the designated entry. All that communication has to happen before, without the interoperability of the radios or pre-planning of this. What's it going to look like? Well, it's going to be self-dispatch teams going in whatever door they parked in front of and then doing their own thing.

Jason Kelley:

Got a follow up question to that. Are they putting somebody at the door because of breaching issues or to get into the structure or the building? Or is that just simply where they're positioning their tactical? If it's entry stuff, then obviously they can solve that by either, one, law enforcement conducts actual breaches or key cards or fobs or through the locks, something like that, if that's the case. If it's not, then personally, I don't want to be that close if I'm tactical because you can get sucked into now the incident. All of a sudden, they need some resources right inside the door, and all of a sudden now, they're looking around, who do I need? And all of a sudden, now I'm interjecting myself into the problem, where if I back off, give it a bit more situational awareness and be away from that situation, I can now start managing, organizing and controlling that incident.

Bill Godfrey:

I think that's a really good question, Jason. And from my reading of the email, what he said was that they're doing that because they don't have the radio com issues. And so instead of using staging, everybody is responding up to the door and they're organizing there and then pushing the teams in. So essentially, they're not just doing tactical at the door, tactical is also doing staging at the door at the same location. Which to me, defeats the purpose and the value of having staging back a little way, so that you can manage your flow of resources and get them assigned. But no, from my reading of the email, they're doing that because of the lack of interoperability on the radios between the different agencies.

Jason Kelley:

And maybe my response to that is you're going to have to triple up all locations. So, if you're running staging, you're going to have to make sure that you have law enforcement from university, city, county, at probably staging too, to make sure everyone's communications that are getting all that information over. Potentially two thoughts on that.

Bill Godfrey:

Yeah, Kevin.

Kevin Burd:

Yeah, I think everyone's hit on it here. The vision in my head is, there's too many at that door. When everyone starts to come, how do we manage all the responding agencies and run basically the tactical triage and transport operations there? And next thing you know, you turn, you've got 10, 20, 40, 50 more people there. And how many times have we been involved, in our careers and incidents, where the command post gets stood up and it's the magnet. Everybody keeps coming to it. And I'm just trying to picture, could that impact the effectiveness of that tactical triage and transport position by now trying to run staging out of the same exact location? There'd be too many voices, too many opinions, too many people. And are we going to start to get overwhelmed with the amount that ends up there? And again, I don't know the resources that may be going there, but I'm envisioning the events, reading the after-action reports, and the tens, if not hundreds of agencies and officers, personnel that are coming to this, and now you're trying to all manage it from one location.

Bill Godfrey:

Yeah. I'm with you, Kevin. It's very difficult for me to imagine that actually being successful on a real event. I think it would become very overwhelming for whoever's at the door trying to do that very quickly. And the other thing I would point out is, I'd go back to what I said earlier when I put my chief hat on. This is all being driven by a lack of compatibility on a radio, so fix the radio problem. We're not talking hundreds of thousands of dollars to fix this. There are solutions that can be done in the thousands. And even some that can be done that are less than $10,000, that allow you to tie these radio systems together. So to me, there's very difficult tactical decisions here that are being forced because of some, I guess, for a better way to say it, political problems or budget problems, or just a lack of cooperation.

I do want to echo though, what you said earlier, Kevin, which is, what's going on with training? And I think all of us would acknowledge in our careers, it's nice when leadership all gets together and sings kumbaya and pushes down the road, shoulder to shoulder. If you guys can't see the faces of the instructors, they're all grinning ear-to-ear right now. Like, "Yeah right, when does that ever happen?" Yeah, and that's the problem. That is the unicorn.

But what I think we have all seen, is that when you put the different agencies in the same training and we start to get to know each other and we start to train together, it doesn't happen immediately, but that's when the barriers start to come down. There's a little more cooperation, there's sharing of ideas. There's workarounds that come up, things like that. I just really wanted to echo your comment on getting everybody training together, because I will say, out of my entire career, I think that has been more effective at getting all the Hatfields and the McCoys to play nice with each other, as opposed to trying to dictate it from on high. All right, any other parting thoughts? Coby?

Coby Briehn:

No, sir. All good, all covered.

Bill Godfrey:

Jason, anything else you want to add?

Jason Kelley:

Nothing on my end and I think we touched on it all. And I think it boils down to what you just wrapped up with, it's the training. We just all have to get together, get on the same page and figure out how does it work for our community? Because at the end of the day, are two obstacles, right? Criminal and the clock, and we've got to work together in order to save lives.

Bill Godfrey:

Yeah, and that, by the way, that effort to work together and deal with those two obstacles, the criminal and the clock, starts with leadership and policy guidance and solving some of these problems.

Well, there you have it. I hope that that's helpful to the individual that emailed us in the question. I hope that gives some food for thought and I enjoyed this. This was fun to get a listener question that's a challenge like this. It's a really, really good question.

Well gentlemen, thank you very much for being here with us today, ladies and gentlemen, thank you for listening to the podcast. If you haven't subscribed, please click the subscribe button wherever you get your podcast. I want to say thank you to Karla Torres, our producer, for putting this together and making us sound a lot more intelligent than we are. Until next time, stay safe.

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Контент предоставлен C3 Pathways. Весь контент подкастов, включая эпизоды, графику и описания подкастов, загружается и предоставляется непосредственно компанией C3 Pathways или ее партнером по платформе подкастов. Если вы считаете, что кто-то использует вашу работу, защищенную авторским правом, без вашего разрешения, вы можете выполнить процедуру, описанную здесь https://ru.player.fm/legal.

Episode 51: Listener Question - Who Sets Tactical?

This week are live on the road with the ASIM team in New York City. Today we are answering a former ASIM student's question on "Who sets tactical with only three or four officers on duty?"

Bill Godfrey:

Bill Godfrey: Welcome to the Active Shooter Incident Management Podcast. My name is Bill Godfrey, your podcast host. I have with me today, three of the C3 instructors, Kevin Burd, our Director of Training. Kevin, thanks for being here today.

Kevin Burd:

Thanks for having me, Bill.

Bill Godfrey:

All right. And we got Jason Kelley. Jason, good to have you here.

Jason Kelley:

Thank you, sir.

Bill Godfrey:

Or, as we call him, Slide Deck. And we have Coby Briehn. Coby, welcome back.

Coby Briehn:

Thanks for having me.

Bill Godfrey:

All right, so today we got something a little bit different for our topic today. We actually have an audience question. The question comes from a former student of ours from an ASIM course, and he says, "I work for a university police department in a city of about a hundred thousand. Our active shooter instructors have a question about setting up tactical. If we only have three or four armed officers on duty, such as the weekends or second shifts or third shifts." And the question is, "if we only have three officers to respond, do we send in a two-officer contact team and keep the third for tactical to manage the city and county officers who respond into the campus? Or do we give up tactical to have our third officer make entry and search for the threat and let the city officer take the lead on running tactical operations?" He goes on to say, "There's been some discussion both ways. There's not a consensus." And he is asking if we could provide a recommendation and the reasoning why we would recommend that as our course of action.

So, a number of interesting things here. He's concerned about the shifts where they've only got three or four officers on duty. Okay, so that's first of all. So, obviously, they got backup coming from the city and the county. I'm guessing one of the questions you guys have is, what's our response time for the city and the county? Let's assume the city's going to be right there because the university's in the city, a couple minutes, they're there pretty quick. And for the county, let's say it's a little bit longer, a little over 10 minutes for that. Before we get rolling on thoughts, does anybody have any other questions that they want to ask about it?

Kevin Burd:

My first question would be, what is the standard policies and procedures that they would operate under? Is everybody who's responding under the same guidance? Is it a countywide response plan? Is it three individual plans? That would probably dictate some of our answers or thoughts on this.

Bill Godfrey:

I think those are both great questions. And actually, I asked him a couple of those questions and he did give me some additional information. He said that they all three have some common training, but they have different policies and procedures. The university police has adopted the ASIM process. The others haven't gone quite that far. They've had to negotiate some things, so instead of tactical taking up the position and doing staging, they have tactical go to the door and control everything at the door. The other thing that I think is important to mention, is they do not have compatible communication systems. The university police doesn't have the ability to go to the city channels and the city police do not have the ability to go to the university channels. All right? Any other questions before we start talking or who wants to lead off?

Jason Kelley:

Oh, I'll lead off. This is Jason. I'll lead off. I guess my first concern is, three agencies on three separate channels. If you're going to place a university officer outside the tactical as that third officer, and sending to his contact teams to stop the killing. To me, that probably makes sense. So, they have direct line of communication from tactical to the interior units, additional resources responding. My opinion is, you need to then send a city and county to tactical, to that university officer, so now we have communications for additional responding officers.

Bill Godfrey:

All right. That's a tough call, right? I mean, you've only got three or four gun-toters to begin with, we're going to minus one to keep them outside to try to coordinate the rest of this response. Coby, what do you think? Two going in real quick with hopefully a couple more coming in a few minutes?

Coby Briehn:

Right. All good considerations. Off the top of my head, I'm thinking where in the building? Is it a multi-story building? That would lead me towards having somebody there at the doorway or the crisis-site entry to relay that, to follow-on responders, initial responders of, "hey, you're going to the seventh floor," that kind of thing. If you need access passes, all this stuff, getting key cards to them. They may be collecting up key cards from officers that are coming to give to other follow-on responders. You may have to put those relays in place to get officers into the multiple stories, but obviously the communication's going to be the big thing.

And if, let's play on the other side of it, if they don't have communication issues or compatibility, then we're simply running individual contact teams that would have no communication, so everybody's going to self-dispatch, which is defeating the entire organizational process. I would hope there's a way to integrate that, having county, state, and city guys all in there, so the radio frequencies are in play. But the goal is to go in and stop the killing, obviously. If you can do that with two or three and then have that fourth or fifth at the door to relay it on as to what they need upstairs or down the hallway, that's going to be the best bet for me, I would believe.

Bill Godfrey:

All right, Kevin, what's your quick reaction.

Kevin Burd:

So, a few things are coming to mind here and Coby just touched on it. Where are we in this incident? And what environment are we working in? If we have active stimulus, we obviously have to address that threat, so obviously the first couple officers need to go in. And I think back to a lot of incidents I've been involved in, where we've had to integrate other teams on the tactical side to work together because we weren't sharing the same radio communication. They don't have it in place, but we need to look at, if we don't have it in place, how are we going to integrate that? By leaving somebody from university, as an example, there and the city or the county comes in, we need to integrate because we need to manage this thing at some point. We can't have teams working inside individually, right? Somebody's got to be in charge.So we need to agree...

Bill Godfrey:

Otherwise we end up blue on blue, we're doing duplicate work. We're missing things.

Kevin Burd:

Absolutely, a hundred percent. We need to organize that. And I think part of the question was too, do we lose that interoperability or communications when we go inside? Can we operate in there? And the relays that Coby was talking about has come into play in some of these incidents and we need to coordinate all that. Where are we in our priorities? Is it still an active threat or do we not have stimulus? Now we're going into the rescue part, but we have to manage this, right? Somebody has to put the brakes on and manage this scene. And if it's going to be an integrated response, multiple agencies coming, how do we integrate that communications and command so we're all on the same page to avoid those blue on blues and everything else?

Bill Godfrey:

Sure, sure. I'm going to step back from this question, the specifics of this question, which are very tactical in nature, and I get, and put my chief's hat on and look at the bigger picture here. To me, there's two ongoing problems that the chiefs, the chiefs at the university, the chiefs at the city, the chiefs or the sheriff at the county, that they own and need to solve.

Number one, inability to operate on each other's radios. As a guy that spent a number of years working with interoperable radio technology, I can tell you from a technology perspective, we solved this problem 15-20 years ago. There is no reason, even if you're operating on different bands, there is no technical reason that you cannot have one system be connectable to a different system. That is a technical problem that can be solved, probably a dozen different ways and some of those ways of solving that are not expensive.

That's to me, problem number one and one of the lowest hanging fruit and the quickest things to fix, is to get that interoperability across their radios fixed immediately. And that's an issue for leadership, that's got to work it out. And there's going to be a little bit of cost there. Who's going to bear that cost and how are they going to divvy up those responsibilities? That might even hit the elected officials or the city manager, the county manager, things like that. That's problem number one.

Problem number two, is that they're not all on the same policy and procedure. A police department for a city of a hundred thousand is not a big enough police department that they're going to take care of an active shooter event on their own. They're going to have other agencies and entities from the county and every place else coming in. You need to get everybody on the same policy. Once again, that's a leadership issue, where we need to push through the politics, the relational challenges, history, the biases. We've got to find common ground and get everyone on the same page.

And what I would say is, his whole question, the fundamental basis of his question of, can those first three officers go in? Or do I need to sacrifice an officer early on to stay outside? Well, you know what? If you've got interoperability on your radios and everybody's trained on the same process, all those officers can go in because the city guys following behind you are going to know how to set up command. They're going to know how to structure this. They're going to know how to carry on the response. Same thing with the county guys. The problem is when we don't have that, now you're having to make a really difficult choice, which is exactly... And I get that's exactly the debate that's going on, a really difficult choice.

But what I hear you guys saying is you got to leave that guy out, that third guy out. And I agree with you because, if everybody goes in and you've got no coms, you're going to be the one isolated. You're going to have no idea what they've done, no idea how they're going to manage it, how they're going to organize the thing. And it's just a prescription for a disaster. Here's the other thing, and I think a couple of you were alluding to this. Coby, when you were talking about the key cards, how many floors is the thing? The university cops know the building. They know the layout, they know the environment, they know the keys, they know the access. They know the notification systems to put the campus on lockdown. If they're all inside, none of that's getting done.

I think the lesser of the evils here, from my perspective, is you've got to sacrifice that one extra guy, the last guy, to stay out, begin the incident management process and be that expert on the building to communicate. And then those first couple of officers that get there from the city, you push them in and get them linked up with a team that's already inside. You begin to mix and match, share radios, get one of the city people that stays with the other officer outside. We haven't really talked about that.

And let's jump to that. Let's take a pause. Let's assume that one of the campus cops stays outside, takes tactical and is running it at the door. Now city guys come up, they're on a different radio channel. County guys come up, they're on a different radio channel. Guys, talk about how you would see that working at the tactical level.

Coby Briehn:

How I could see it, sitting here thinking about it, is this question has probably been discussed, like you mentioned, for the last several years. Because if it's a university, then they have sporting events, concerts, things where they've had to work together. I'm hoping that this question has been asked. Another question that would be concerning is, if they're just having dispatch call each other and basically telling dispatch and then dispatch telling the other agencies dispatch over the phone, how things or what they're doing, if we're having... That's the relay system that they have into play. Off the top of my head, when you're having the relays and the multiple radio channel difficulties like I had mentioned earlier, essentially, we're just going into solo responder events then. And so the agencies aren't able to talk to each other and everything's going to get duplicated or missed. That's the options that you have is, it either should have been answered before you go there and have this and the best way to do it without it being answered is, you've got to have communications there to direct it and control it.

Jason Kelley:

Good point, Coby. To take it a step further, I see additional responding officers from the city or the county are going to link up with the university tactical positions, so you'll have basically, in essence, three tactical positions that are covered from law enforcement. Instead of that tactical transport triage three, we're going to have basically that five, tactical is going to be operating under three personnel. Exactly how we communicate from fire and EMS and law enforcement because they're standing co-located. Same thing would have to happen here. You've got three different radio channels, three people have to stand next to each other in order to communicate. Something comes over city, he can turn to university, he can turn to county, relay that information. Now he can send it out to their contact teams, university sends it out to their contact team and vice versa.

Bill Godfrey:

Okay. Kevin?

Kevin Burd:

A few things are going through my mind right now, listening to Coby and Jason talk about this. Number one, we don't want to have this problem the day something happens.

Bill Godfrey:

Oh boy.

Kevin Burd:

Training, joint training, regional training. We all need to get on the same page, which goes back to, Bill, you mentioning before about getting in the room. And one of our instructors coined that phrase, "leave the PPE at the door," right? Leave the politics, the personalities, and the egos of the door. Get inside, figure out what the larger response is going to look like, when you have these resource challenges and start gearing your training towards that, so we are on the same page and not figuring this out the day that it comes. Communications-wise, that's been answered for quite some time now. We just need to continue to have those conversations and get on the same page and knowing the environments that we're going to be working in. The university is asking this question and I don't know the answer to this. Have they had joint trainings there? Are they bringing city and county in so they know the environment they're going to be working in? Instead of, and it sounds like they are all together.

Bill Godfrey:

Hopefully. And are they including fire EMS, their com centers, their emergency management?

Kevin Burd:

Absolutely. And it actually reminds me of, from the SWAT or the tactical side, drilling that tactical position when SWAT arrives and we start to see that transition into tactical teams. As an example, I would integrate one of our team leaders in that tactical position, so they are in communication face-to-face with that tactical officer because we're working on separate channels and everything else. Vocally for me, we had that discussion, we could move over to a channel that we all share, but that's not the case and the question that's being asked right now. You may have the five headed beast instead of the three headed fluffy that we talk about in some of our trainings.

Bill Godfrey:

Yeah. All right, I think that's a pretty solid way to answer, provides our reasoning or rationale for it. I do want to pivot to one other piece of this that caught my attention. And that was, that they have their tactical position go up to the door and actually work the door, be door control. Now, let me say, this is of course out of my domain, so I want to come around to you guys to think what you think about that. But the one thing that does occur to me is, doesn't that assume that there's only one door that's going to be in use? And that seems a little odd, especially for large building structures like that. What do you guys think about tactical being right up at the door and trying to control people? Not having staging back away from the scene, but instead having everybody staged right up at the door, trying to organize your teams at the door.

Coby Briehn:

The problems I see with that are, what we are talking about is, let's presume it's a residence hall where there's going to be multiple entry points. And are the follow-ons all coming to that same entry point? Are they coming into the front door? Are they going into the side door? All that communication has to be relayed out before. I could see dispatches making the calls to other agencies of, go to the A-side, the one side, the front door, right there, and then make that the designated entry. All that communication has to happen before, without the interoperability of the radios or pre-planning of this. What's it going to look like? Well, it's going to be self-dispatch teams going in whatever door they parked in front of and then doing their own thing.

Jason Kelley:

Got a follow up question to that. Are they putting somebody at the door because of breaching issues or to get into the structure or the building? Or is that just simply where they're positioning their tactical? If it's entry stuff, then obviously they can solve that by either, one, law enforcement conducts actual breaches or key cards or fobs or through the locks, something like that, if that's the case. If it's not, then personally, I don't want to be that close if I'm tactical because you can get sucked into now the incident. All of a sudden, they need some resources right inside the door, and all of a sudden now, they're looking around, who do I need? And all of a sudden, now I'm interjecting myself into the problem, where if I back off, give it a bit more situational awareness and be away from that situation, I can now start managing, organizing and controlling that incident.

Bill Godfrey:

I think that's a really good question, Jason. And from my reading of the email, what he said was that they're doing that because they don't have the radio com issues. And so instead of using staging, everybody is responding up to the door and they're organizing there and then pushing the teams in. So essentially, they're not just doing tactical at the door, tactical is also doing staging at the door at the same location. Which to me, defeats the purpose and the value of having staging back a little way, so that you can manage your flow of resources and get them assigned. But no, from my reading of the email, they're doing that because of the lack of interoperability on the radios between the different agencies.

Jason Kelley:

And maybe my response to that is you're going to have to triple up all locations. So, if you're running staging, you're going to have to make sure that you have law enforcement from university, city, county, at probably staging too, to make sure everyone's communications that are getting all that information over. Potentially two thoughts on that.

Bill Godfrey:

Yeah, Kevin.

Kevin Burd:

Yeah, I think everyone's hit on it here. The vision in my head is, there's too many at that door. When everyone starts to come, how do we manage all the responding agencies and run basically the tactical triage and transport operations there? And next thing you know, you turn, you've got 10, 20, 40, 50 more people there. And how many times have we been involved, in our careers and incidents, where the command post gets stood up and it's the magnet. Everybody keeps coming to it. And I'm just trying to picture, could that impact the effectiveness of that tactical triage and transport position by now trying to run staging out of the same exact location? There'd be too many voices, too many opinions, too many people. And are we going to start to get overwhelmed with the amount that ends up there? And again, I don't know the resources that may be going there, but I'm envisioning the events, reading the after-action reports, and the tens, if not hundreds of agencies and officers, personnel that are coming to this, and now you're trying to all manage it from one location.

Bill Godfrey:

Yeah. I'm with you, Kevin. It's very difficult for me to imagine that actually being successful on a real event. I think it would become very overwhelming for whoever's at the door trying to do that very quickly. And the other thing I would point out is, I'd go back to what I said earlier when I put my chief hat on. This is all being driven by a lack of compatibility on a radio, so fix the radio problem. We're not talking hundreds of thousands of dollars to fix this. There are solutions that can be done in the thousands. And even some that can be done that are less than $10,000, that allow you to tie these radio systems together. So to me, there's very difficult tactical decisions here that are being forced because of some, I guess, for a better way to say it, political problems or budget problems, or just a lack of cooperation.

I do want to echo though, what you said earlier, Kevin, which is, what's going on with training? And I think all of us would acknowledge in our careers, it's nice when leadership all gets together and sings kumbaya and pushes down the road, shoulder to shoulder. If you guys can't see the faces of the instructors, they're all grinning ear-to-ear right now. Like, "Yeah right, when does that ever happen?" Yeah, and that's the problem. That is the unicorn.

But what I think we have all seen, is that when you put the different agencies in the same training and we start to get to know each other and we start to train together, it doesn't happen immediately, but that's when the barriers start to come down. There's a little more cooperation, there's sharing of ideas. There's workarounds that come up, things like that. I just really wanted to echo your comment on getting everybody training together, because I will say, out of my entire career, I think that has been more effective at getting all the Hatfields and the McCoys to play nice with each other, as opposed to trying to dictate it from on high. All right, any other parting thoughts? Coby?

Coby Briehn:

No, sir. All good, all covered.

Bill Godfrey:

Jason, anything else you want to add?

Jason Kelley:

Nothing on my end and I think we touched on it all. And I think it boils down to what you just wrapped up with, it's the training. We just all have to get together, get on the same page and figure out how does it work for our community? Because at the end of the day, are two obstacles, right? Criminal and the clock, and we've got to work together in order to save lives.

Bill Godfrey:

Yeah, and that, by the way, that effort to work together and deal with those two obstacles, the criminal and the clock, starts with leadership and policy guidance and solving some of these problems.

Well, there you have it. I hope that that's helpful to the individual that emailed us in the question. I hope that gives some food for thought and I enjoyed this. This was fun to get a listener question that's a challenge like this. It's a really, really good question.

Well gentlemen, thank you very much for being here with us today, ladies and gentlemen, thank you for listening to the podcast. If you haven't subscribed, please click the subscribe button wherever you get your podcast. I want to say thank you to Karla Torres, our producer, for putting this together and making us sound a lot more intelligent than we are. Until next time, stay safe.

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