This is the second part of a 2-part series, read Part 1 here
The Army and various other combat units have a formula when it comes to fighting. Speed, Surprise, and Violence of Action. These same three philosophies are used in the Law Enforcement community, specifically in specialty units such as SWAT, Narcotics, Gangs, and various others. Now let’s take a simple operation as an example, specifically, a motor vehicle takedown to arrest a violent felon, wanted for Murder. This operation, in essence, is an ambush. Those three parts of the equation MUST be met. If you lose any one of them, you’ve lost the initiative and the whole operation turns to shit. I have seen this occur time and time again, where the initiative was lost due to two things: lack of communication, or poor planning.
Now let’s take those 3 parts of the equation and add them in an ambush against a police officer. An officer gets a call to go to a local motel for a wanted murder suspect hiding out there. Several officers arrive on scene and set up to make entry to apprehend the suspect. They enter, the first officer through the door sees the suspect run into a bedroom and gives chase. The officer is shot by the suspect and gets hit in the chest and falls behind cover. The officer immediately gets up, returns fire, and gets into a shootout with the suspect and the suspect is killed.
Now I believe for an officer, or anyone for that matter, to fight through an ambush, they need 4 parts to the equation. Speed, Surprise, Violence of Action, and Resolve. Resolve, Resolve, Resolve! It is paramount in the equation. An officer has to have resolve in them. They must have the will to fight. The fight in them needs to be bigger than the threat they face. That hybrid wolf needs to come out and take charge. That part of the human mind, the primal, savage, warrior mindset is needed to fight through an ambush. When I go into work, prepare for an operation, put my kit on, load my rifle and handgun, my mind is in the game. I greet the grim reaper with a smile and hit my objective. The warrior mindset, the resolve, and being battle-tested helps me with the 4 parts to defeating an ambush.
There is a piece of equipment out there in law enforcement that would give them an edge. It is a defensive tool to be used for a multitude of situations. Here is a quick list, de-escalating by cordoning off a person in crisis, high-risk room entries, motor vehicle takedowns, peeking up attics, porting windows, breaking interior doors, and a whole variety of other tactics this shield can be used. The company that makes these is Vector Law Enforcement Shields. They are a level III NIJ rated multi-hit shield. Which means it stops most rifle, pistol, and shotgun rounds. It’s small but that makes it useful for all kinds of operations to include sitting in that most vulnerable position.
Sitting in a cruiser.
When I first saw the shield, my first thought was “what the fuck? Then after talking with the owner, Robert Scali, a retired Special Forces medic, I understood his philosophy regarding the shield. It is for quick and rapid deployment when a regular shield is unavailable. Like if an officer is being engaged while sitting in their cruiser.
I have personally deployed this shield numerous times on different operations and I found it served me well. It’s especially effective on surveillance missions, where I am sitting static in a not-so-good neighborhood. Typically, I am not wearing any sort of body armor. I have the shield next to me, ready to deploy. This tool gives me an edge, should I come under fire. I can at least protect myself. Remember the formula, Speed, Surprise, Violence of Action, and Resolve. The surprise is the shield, it’s an unexpected added tool that I have at my disposal. A quick example, while working in an undercover capacity, I placed the shield in my backpack.
I felt that much better knowing that if I get ambushed, I have the option to deploy this shield. I’m of the mind, with new tools, come new tactics. These new tactics should be counter-ambush techniques. This is not about the militarization of police, this is about how can we get officers to better serve their communities by giving them the right equipment, training, and a type of mindset that will make them that much more effective.
This first appeared in The Havok Journal on October 7, 2020.
Ayman is an Army Veteran who was deployed during Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2005 and became a police officer in 2007 after 8 years of military service. He has worked in the patrol division, in a plainclothes anti-crime unit, as a Metro-SWAT operator, and as a detective in a major crimes unit, as a narcotics task force detective with the DEA, and as an operator with the DEA Special Response Team (SRT). He also helped organize SRT operations in Southern New England.
As an assistant team leader, he assisted and coordinated the planning of operations as well as conducted various aspects of training. He has investigated high-level drug traffickers, gang members, and conducted numerous operations. He is currently the Officer in Charge of the Problem-Oriented Policing Unit. Ayman is a law enforcement firearms instructor, a less-than-lethal weapons instructor, a certified use of force instructor at his police department Ayman’s hands-on experience with law enforcement operations at many different levels coupled with his compassion to save lives has brought him to coordinate “Project Sapient.”
This initiative is a joint effort comprised of law enforcement professionals of all levels combined with the Special Forces philosophy of winning hearts and minds. Ayman has found that to reach more officers and departments, it is important to share his experience with media outlets that reach law enforcement.
He regularly contributes to The Havok Journal, writing articles that provide insight into current law enforcement trends and methodologies to help officers become better equipped to handle an ever-changing work environment.
Project Sapient is currently a Podcast. Ayman’s vision of Project Sapient is to eventually train other law enforcement officers and civilians alike in stress inoculation. Something that is sorely needed in the Law Enforcement profession. In his writing, Ayman draws from his hands-on experience as both a law enforcement professional and his military service.
For years, Ayman has seen the trend in lack of training policing. Whether it’s budget cuts, political enemies, or ineffective policy, Ayman has made it his mission to bring innovation, unconventional policing methods, and to have those tough conversations and instruction to assist law enforcement to better relate with and advise communities.
He sees firsthand the need for better training and tools for law enforcement to serve their communities most effectively. A better-trained officer is what policing a free society requires.