I have been talking lately with a few SWAT guys about their perspectives of their different tactical teams. What I am hearing is nothing new. While I won’t go into politics or particulars, I will say a central theme in my many discussions has revolved around attitude.
Not as in Attitude with a capital “I’m a badass SWAT guy, so blah, blah, blah.” Attitude, as it relates to a positive approach to training for and execution of high-risk operations. A shared bad morale will destroy a Team from the inside out.
To address some of the myriad complaints I have heard, if you are focused on your agency’s shortcomings related to internal or external politics, command structures, team utilization, and/or management personalities, then I suggest you are fixated too high above your pay grade.
The strength of a Team starts with its individual warriors. Each officer’s concentration should be tactical, and not strategic. A key to being a good SWAT operator is commitment. One must be committed to training, committed to the mission, and committed to the Team and one’s team members. We solve the problem and go home safe.
A sh*t attitude is not only unproductive, but unsafe as well. It distracts an officer from the mental acuity and frostiness that contribute to situational awareness and the ability to make critical decisions.
It is sad for me to see tactical officers in a funk and having lost some of their pride in themselves as operators or in their Teams. Most of us have very little ability to change the courses of our own government juggernauts. We do, however, possess the absolute ability to manage our own attitudes and affect those around us.
Remember how hard you worked to make your Team and then go through SWAT school? And how excited you were on your first Op, when you were still trying to figure out the best gear placement on your tactical vest? Or maybe how proud you were the first time you wore your shiny new SWAT pin on a street uniform?
Let’s try to harness that positive energy to overcome those things that have no place in a training evolution or on a Call Out. We volunteered for this duty, right? We should enjoy it. I can tell you from personal experience that you’ll miss it when it’s gone.
My best advice to those warriors who have lost their way is to return to Basics and support your Buddies. Don’t look any farther than that.