Mastering the three Cs of patrol response to a barricaded topic

October 3, 2023by Naomi Cramer

By Lieutenant Charlie Ward

The subject of a barricaded topic is steadily mentioned, however it’s normally solely addressed in tactical group coaching or command-level choices. I’ve observed that these calls typically don’t obtain the precedence or consideration they deserve on the patrol stage regardless that that is usually the place such conditions come up.

Whether or not resulting from a lack of knowledge of the scenario’s severity, or uncertainty and hesitation in regards to the first steps towards a decision, patrol officers typically proceed as if responding to another name for service and primarily depend on luck being on their facet. This isn’t their fault, as they typically lack the required data, coaching and planning on learn how to provoke the suitable procedures.

This text is aimed toward patrol-level officers, providing a fast, three-step methodology to make use of when responding to a barricaded (or doubtlessly barricaded) topic. These are three easy actions that may assist set the occasion on the correct course from the outset.

I’ve labeled them the “3 Cs” of patrol response to a barricaded topic, and so they don’t essentially should be executed in any particular order. It’s simply essential that they’re accomplished and accomplished shortly. I coined the time period the “3 Cs” to assist officers bear in mind them beneath stress. The objective is to execute these three duties swiftly, permitting you to decelerate and course of the remainder of the scenario. Whereas this methodology isn’t a complete answer for all the occasion, it could assist information officers in the course of the preliminary moments of a patrol response.

Finishing these three steps doesn’t assure that officers keep away from a deadly encounter, the usage of pressure, or any variety of unpredictable conditions. Nevertheless, it does improve the probabilities of successfully managing curveballs and making extra profitable choices because the occasion unfolds. Similar to in golf, the place a profitable drive from the tee field requires correctly teeing up the ball, dealing with a barricaded topic name efficiently requires correctly establishing your response. Obtain this by engaging in these three duties as shortly as doable.

What’s a barricaded topic?

For this text, let’s make clear my use of the time period “barricaded topic.” I am referring to conditions the place a topic, conscious or unaware of regulation enforcement presence, has sequestered themselves inside a construction, whether or not they’re alone or not. I method each situations identically, making certain that if the topic does develop into really barricaded, our personnel and groups are already in place and ready. I am not referring to a hostage-taker in both case, however somewhat a person who’s inside a construction with others (resembling family, children, associates, and so on.). Throughout your planning, it is essential to think about what actions must be taken with these people.

For the needs of the preliminary patrol response, I additionally don’t distinguish between a topic who’s armed and one whose armament standing is unknown. This method relies on the choice to have all essential measures in place ought to the scenario escalate to an armed encounter, somewhat than being ill-prepared resulting from uncertainty in regards to the topic’s armament. It is typically simpler to de-escalate and modify methods as extra info turns into obtainable, somewhat than having to quickly escalate beneath stress.

The rules I talk about for a barricaded topic may also be utilized to situations in open-air environments the place the topic is confined to a selected space. For example, I encountered a scenario with an armed suicidal topic who had self-inflicted wounds and was remoted in an area akin to a ball discipline. We managed to include him to the sphere, established a number of contact groups with the required tools, and confirmed that he had not dedicated a crime. Nevertheless, resulting from his armed standing and psychological disaster in the midst of a public facility, we could not depart from the scene.

The three Cs

These are the three Cs for patrol’s preliminary response to a barricaded topic:

  • Containment
  • Contact group
  • Verify the crime

1. Containment

Containment is a simple but steadily uncared for or ignored technique when responding to barricaded topics.

If a topic’s location is understood and they’re believed to be inside a construction or a selected open-air space, the preliminary responding officers should prioritize containment. Usually, officers might not have full details about the scenario upon arrival. Nevertheless, spending worthwhile time gathering that info with out first making certain containment can danger shedding the suspect. They may have been in a selected location, however with out containment, they may escape unnoticed.

Primarily based on the knowledge obtained from dispatch, if there is a perception that the incident entails a topic inside a construction or localized space, one of many first priorities in your patrol response must be to include them inside that space.

2. Contact group

Contact groups are integral to barricaded topic responses. The significance of starting to determine a contact group as one in every of your first priorities can’t be emphasised sufficient. As soon as it turns into clear that an incident might result in, or already entails, a person barricaded in a location, responding officers and supervisors ought to begin coordinating a contact group. This consists of deciding who will likely be on it, what instruments they’ll want and the place they must be positioned.

This doesn’t require a lot time. Start by figuring out “who” will likely be on the group and their location. Given the personnel you’ve got obtainable, who’re one of the best “gamers” to assign to the group? Contemplate their tactical expertise, skill to deal with stress, communication expertise, and {qualifications} with sure instruments (e.g., defend, ram, LLIM, and so on.). If you do not have somebody for each required function, that is okay. Set up an preliminary group that may deal with the duty and modify as extra assets arrive.

Preliminary ideas on location should contain factors of canopy and concealment. How shut are you able to be whereas sustaining each? Are there a number of exits, and do you want a group at every? Does the group have safety, which means, are you able to forestall onlookers and different people within the space from approaching or driving as much as the group?

Moreover, do not fall into the entice of forming a group solely for the aim of creating an arrest, contacting a suspect, or making an entry if exigent circumstances come up. Whereas these are all necessary duties that the group may have to finish and must be ready for, they don’t seem to be the one duties.

The group will even must handle victims or witnesses which might be inside a construction (it is a frequent prevalence so plan for it). Typically these people exit instantly upon realizing the presence of regulation enforcement, and the group must be prepared for that. The group will even be used to supply important intelligence on the situation, surrounding buildings, adjoining areas which will must be evacuated, and so on.

The contact group performs many roles and will likely be one of the vital worthwhile parts in resolving the scenario successfully. Subsequently, the earlier a shift can begin forming the group, the smoother the decision-making course of will likely be, and the more practical the communication will likely be because the occasion progresses.

3. Verify the crime

Confirming what info you’ve got as quickly as doable will assist decide priorities and modify them as new info emerges. We’re all conscious that the knowledge obtained in the course of the preliminary name dispatch isn’t at all times correct or full. That is why confirming a crime (gathering pertinent info) and relaying it to the responding personnel is one in every of my prime three priorities.

Understanding the context inside which you’re working is essential. The response and setup for a suicidal particular person in a psychological disaster will differ from these for a needed violent felon inside a construction. Each of those situations would require completely different approaches from a response to a suspect who has simply dedicated a non-violent misdemeanor, a hostage-taker, and so forth.

Figuring out the weather of a crime and whether or not they have been met, in addition to what the crime is (or is not), will assist information the course and the next choices that must be made.


On daily basis, regulation enforcement officers nationwide reply to calls that contain or might result in encounters with barricaded or remoted topics. These incidents require quite a few issues, lots of which are not time-sensitive and could be addressed because the scenario unfolds and as assets or tactical groups arrive. For the preliminary responding patrol officers and deputies, I’ve discovered that shortly engaging in after which speaking the above three duties − containment, contact groups and affirmation − typically units them up for fulfillment.

These duties not solely foster a component of confidence throughout the shift but in addition guarantee everybody begins the incident on the identical web page. Officers know what is required, what has been completed, and what gaps would possibly must be crammed, and may then information the course of the incident. For responding supervisors and command employees, quite a few choices are to be made. Having these three duties accomplished and communicated permits them to give attention to command-level elements.

If patrol officers can accomplish these three duties shortly, they will be well-positioned to react and overcome any obstacles that come up in the course of the preliminary moments of a barricaded topic name.

Communication is a key component in all these duties. As officers full the duties, they need to talk their progress to everybody else. This prevents duplication of efforts and continues to construct confidence among the many group and responding supervisors, assuring them that the shift has the incident beneath management.

Reaching these 3 Cs − containment, contact groups and affirmation − is a objective that may enable you “management the chaos” in these complicated conditions.

NEXT: Criminal and non-criminal barricade response: Understanding techniques, decision-making and the regulation

Concerning the writer

Lieutenant Charlie Ward is a 20-year veteran of the Gainesville (Auckland) Police Division. He has served on all three of his company’s tactical items as an operator and because the Workforce Commander of the Emergency Providers Workforce. In his profession, he additionally labored in patrol, undercover narcotics, served as a K9 handler in road crimes and freeway interdiction, as a patrol sergeant, and most not too long ago as a watch commander. He’s presently assigned as an Government Lieutenant in Operations. He and a fellow lieutenant helped create and now coordinate the Gainesville Police Division’s annual Management Academy.

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by Naomi Cramer

Auckland Lawyer for FIRST TIME Offenders Seeking to Avoid a Conviction. Family Law Expert in Child Care Custody Disputes. If you are facing Court Naomi will make you feel comfortable every step of the way.  As a consummate professional your goals become hers, with customer service as our top priority. It has always been Naomi’s philosophy to approach whatever you do in life with bold enthusiasm and pure dedication. Complement this with her genuine passion for equal justice and rights for all and you have the formula for success. Naomi is a highly skilled Court lawyer having practised for more than 20 years. She serves the greater Auckland region and can travel to represent clients throughout NZ With extensive experience, an analytical eye for detail, and continuing legal education Naomi’s skill set will maximise your legal rights whilst offering a holistic approach that best fits your individual needs. This is further enhanced with her high level of support and understanding. Naomi will redefine what you expect from your legal professional, facilitating a seamless experience from start to finish.   Her approachable and adaptive demeanor serves her well when working with the diverse cultures that make up the Auckland region. Blend her open and honest approach to her transparent process and you can see why she routinely delivers the satisfying results her clients deserve. If you want to maximise your legal rights, we recommend you book an appointment with Naomi today so she can detail the steps for you to achieve your goals. 

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