By Jack L.
Police have been the target of a recent sniper attack in a nearby city (90 miles away). A call is received on the non-emergency line in dispatch. This line does not have caller ID. The anonymous male caller said he is just calling for a friend who does not speak English. He wants to report that a black male is brandishing a pistol in a threatening manner. He then proceeds to give very clear directions to the location of the subject. As they speak the subject is supposed to be on foot at the far end of a dead-end ally, its only one block long.
This is an older commercial district and there is generally no activity in the area after 6 pm. There are buildings on the left and an 8 foot block wall on the right. The lighting is fair, the time is just after 10 pm. Usually calls like this come in several at a time, but this is the only call, then again its a remote location. You’re suspicious and wonder if this is a setup?
Tactically speaking, how do you respond, and you have to pick one of the following choices:
1. You exit your vehicle with 3 other police officers and walk into the area using the diamond pattern, to cover the front, sides and rear. Officers are about 3 feet apart and their weapons are drawn. They move slowly down the center of the ally.
2. You drive in with ally lights on (bright side-lights on the roof), your high beams are on and you sit low in the drivers seat, with a second unit is fairly close behind as back up, but with his headlights off and ally lights on. You use the vehicle for cover and mobility.
3. You walk in quietly, using what is called “bounding overlay.” This is where two officers stay behind and take cover, then two other officers advance and then they take cover, then the two behind advance to the next place of cover and so on until the area is searched. A leap frog kind of tactic – weapons are drawn.
4. You drive in half way, flashing your spot light around and you see nothing, so you back out and report it as an unfounded call. There’s nothing to warrant any further concern because it was just one call and it was anonymous. No big.