Friday the team was called out. A cell extraction on a dangerous, violent psych inmate who had to be transported to a mental hospital and medicated. The other team was on call, their Team Leader is new, I wasn't going to show... until I got the phone call that they might be short for a shield team.
It was Mike's op. I was just an extra body. He planned, cool and efficient. The only glitch, as always, came from an excess of efficiency. Some team members staged in the perfect place instead of the usual place and it took a few minutes for the rest to adapt- but that's something we've always encouraged on the team: initiative, taking advantage of opportunities, getting better each time.
When it was time, the team moved- shields, black armor, faces covered. The threat was about six foot or a little under, 240-260 pounds, stark naked with feces on his hands and feet from the shit (his own) that he had been throwing.
Watching Mike work, I was so proud. He took his mask off. He talked slowly and gently. Mike motioned the rest of the team to stay out of sight and told one member, who looks like a friendly kid, to take off his mask and come talk.
The threat let himself be cuffed and sat down on the restraint board. No struggle, no fight, no injuries. Smooth, friendly professionalism. A perfect operation.
Reading this, I don't think you can know what that means to me. I know how these guys can fight- especially Mike, a former Marine, a jail guard, a tactical team member and now a Team Leader- and they don't feel that they have to. The confidence.
I've brought a lot to the team. Our hand to hand and DTs are not like anything I've seen in another agency; our cell extraction system is faster and safer than the standard taught by the academy and the feds- but if there is one thing I want to be remembered for, one legacy, this is what I want it to be- that I was part of the early leadership that taught that it was okay NOT to fight.
Trained fighters in armor with a serious threat- too many people would feel a compulsion to use the training. It's okay not to... and it has gone so far as to become part of our culture. It's not just right, it's obvious...
I am so proud.
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