SOP (Tactics) - Identifying Danger Areas

Anything that has not been cleared by the team is a danger area. Everything and everyone, yes including hostages, pose a threat to the mission. Yet, there are places where your team can be in more danger than others. You must identify these points and plan to ahead. Do all you can to minimize the threat it posses.

Points of danger can include:

1. Windows: If a suspect is inside of a room, and several feet away from the window, he can shoot you better than you can shoot him. When you have to pass a window from outside a location, it's best to get close to the window, crouch, and quickly move to the other side. Move your team at the same time. Not doing so, allows the suspect to plan ahead, and aim properly. If you are inside the location, treat the window like a door, and slice-the-pie. Make sure though, you are several feet away.

2. Elevated positions: You and the team are in danger anytime the suspect can occupy a position overlooking yours. It is easier to shoot down than up. The best way to neutralize the threat is to secure the upper levels first. However, this might not always be possible. So if you have to move through an overlooked location, get to the side nearest the possible suspect position. You should try to get under it. This should eliminate your exposure. If there are multiple overlooking areas, choose the side less likely to be occupied and hug it. In any case, order at least one officer to be ready to engage suspects on upper floors. They should be equipped with a .223 or .308 firing weapon. Finally, if it is not safe to hug the walls.

3. Balconies: There is some danger in moving on balconies. You will be exposed to threats from long ranges. The best advice is to avoid them. They are usually straight. You should be able to open the door leading to it and look out. If no one is there you can pretty much say it's clear. Should you choose to physically clear the area, get in the middle of the balcony and crouch. You do not want to place yourself along the wall or near the side of the gate. It can make you easier to shoot, and denies you room to maneuver.

4. Multiple Doors: You encounter these in several areas during in a mission. Living rooms and kitchens often have multiple doors where a suspect might appear. Halls are another multi-door danger points. You can employ smoke gas near the doors or openings and block sudden attacks. The suspect would have to be some distance away to counter this. This is why you should re-enforce this technique with manpower. While clearing the room or making a decision as to which area to clear (should have already made this decision before the mission began), have officers cover these positions. **REMINDER-Smoke and CS do not last forever, be ready to deploy more or have it properly covered.

5. Large Open Spaces: These are always a threat. Unfortunately, there is no real way to counter it. You best bet is always move with cover. Place officers in position to look downrange and cover the rest of the team?s movement. Note: This is not a bad idea for any movement. Also, move in a horizontal line with different distances and ranges between officers.

6. Stairways: The Stairway is one of the most dangerous places on any map. In certain maps (ie: LAX map) the suspect can attack from above and below. The best course of action is to move with everyone trained at different angles. Most looking in the direction you are moving in. Assign one man as rear guard. I will discuss stair and hallway movement drills in upcoming articles.