Professor Laure Brooks’ CCJS340 Policing class had a guest speaker, Sergeant Stafford Farmer-Lee, from the Alexandria Police Department SWAT team. Sergeant Farmer-Lee has been a police officer a little over 23 years. Sergeant Farmer-Lee spoke to CCJS340 students about SWAT operations and the rigorous training of a police officer. Here are two items of many that were presented by Sergeant Farmer-Lee:
Police officers must constantly train both physically and mentally – an officer must train to quickly react to situations. Shooting skills are considered perishable, shooting skills diminish without constant practice. SWAT members must maintain a 96% shooting accuracy rate, which is considered the expert level for shooting. SWAT members are trained communicators. Their top priority is to diffuse the situation to ensure no one gets hurt.
There are many different hostages situations that SWAT teams face. A potentially dangerous one is domestic-related. In general, these situations are dangerous as they involve people who are experiencing high emotions, like love and hate, due to a breakup or family dispute. In other situations, the hostage taking is unplanned- a bank robber gets caught in the act and ends up taking hostages as a potential means of escape.