Dynamic Entry Drills
As this country's understanding of the meaning of "the rule of law" continues to evolve towards a more dynamic law enforcement stance, perhaps it is time to add "dynamic entry drills" to the list of safety rules responsible parents must teach their children.
Dynamic entries are an important aspect of modern-day "rule of law." These entries are an essential tool for law enforcement to ensure that they find the evidence they seek when executing search warrants in the war on drugs, in fighting domestic terrorists, and in kidnaping/hostage situations. In a dynamic entry, an overwhelming force of paramilitary police show up unannounced and storm the alleged perpetrator's house. The law enforcement officers dress in black, carry assault rifles, bark orders, and often add "flash-bang" grenades and tear gas to the entry in order to make sure that they maintain control of the situation.
These dynamic entries can be extremely disconcerting to young children and household pets. Often the family dog will mistake the law enforcement officers for a threat, and attack the officers. This often requires that the pet be shot. Small children may become agitated by such a show of force and behave erratically themselves, grasping at toys or household implements which an officer might mistake for a threat, with tragic consequences.
This emphasizes the necessity of conducting training drills for all members of a household in order to practice the proper techniques for submission, so that officers do not feel threatened. Children should be instructed to keep calm, and follow orders politely but without making any sudden movements, keeping their hands visible at all times. A good technique to practice is to lay motionless face down with arms spread, hands open, and with face averted from the officers. If possible, teach family pets to cower rather than attacking intruders.
After these basic drill objectives have been accomplished, the drills should be extended to teach household members the difference between a dynamic entry by law enforcement and a home invasion robbery. Whereas household members need have no fear of being raped by law officers engaged in a dynamic entry, criminals who perpetrate home invasion robberies often rape their victims. If the household is properly submissive to the rule of law, it is unlikely that law enforcement officers will shoot them, whereas criminals carrying out home invasions often kill their victims.
Each member of the household must be able to make this distinction quickly. It is important for all household members to remain calm and submissive during a dynamic entry, and under no circumstances should an officer be threatened or his authority questioned in any way. On the other hand, the best course of action during a home invasion is to resist using any available household implements. Whereas law enforcement officers implementing a dynamic entry truly do have overwhelming force available to them, and can escalate the situation to whatever degree is necessary (even to the point of tanks and aircraft as at Waco), with the typical home invasion robbery, the force you see is all there is.
The unfortunate fact is that many families will dismiss the need for conducting fire drills or dynamic entry drills, thinking, "it can't happen to us." Nothing could be farther from the truth. While the targets of dynamic entries are often well deserving scoff-laws, mistakes do happen. Officers have been known to target the wrong family for any number of reasons, including mistaken addresses or even mistaken identities. Even anonymous information submitted by disgruntled neighbors can lead to a dynamic entry. Or you might get caught between competing jurisdictions where one court tells you to do one thing, and another government agency tells you to do another (this happened for example in the Elian Gonzalez case). Besides, even if you think that your family and all visitors to your home are law abiding, it is hard to be sure. Even Congress does not have time to really read and understand all the laws they pass.
One final caution. Conducting the drills may instill a sense of mistrust for police officers in your children if you do not take proper care to distinguish between a dynamic entry and the neighborhood officers on the beat. Be sure to emphasize to your children that neighborhood officers are their friends that they can turn to if they are ever lost or feel endangered. Your children will probably readily recognize the uniformed neighborhood police, but visual aids may be necessary in recognizing those who do dynamic entries. These latter officers are usually camera shy, and few good photos of them are readily available. The Elian Gonzalez case provides us with unusually good photos of law enforcement officers dressed for a dynamic entry. See for example the cover of the May 22, 2000 issue of National Review for a good visual aid for your drills.
And always remember: "Safety is no accident."
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Last updated: August 20, 2000; Version: 1.1