Tactical Commanders Course Prepares Students for Real World Leadership of Tactical Teams – Pt. III

In this most recent post, I asked Tim Sharpee, the Lead Instructor and Course Director for our Critical Incident Commander and Tactical Commander Courses to explain in his own words the benefit of Westminster Police Department hosting both courses in the same week.  Here was his response:


On its face these classes are similar, however when we breakdown each they are dramatically different. I believe there’s a ton to be learned from each of these classes, especially being back to back…


Let’s start with the Critical Incident Commander Class.

This class is geared towards all supervisors; regardless of rank, who will have a role during any major incident. A major incident isn’t just classified as a tactical situation, but could be a major crime with a significant crime scene, protests or a natural disaster. In this class we not only talk about how to initiate a realistic approach to the Incident Command System, but how to use and practice this system on a regular basis. Students will participate in group exercise and develop their own table top exercise. We will identify the personnel and assets for each agency and determine how we would handle a significant event with only those agency’s resources. It’s during this section of the class that leaders realize they may lack the number of personnel required to truly handle a significant incident. Students will learn how to develop solutions and hopefully be more prepared for any major incidents.


The Tactical Commander Course

Most agency’s SWAT teams;  are by definition, a part time team. Thus the team leaders and commanders have other leadership roles within the organization. The core objective of the Tactical Commanders Class is geared towards developing and maintaining a SWAT team. As a class we want to ensure that what your doing is correct and within the best practices of tactical operations. Although we discuss Incident Command, we stress the Tactical Operations Center (TOC) side of a SWAT operation. What is the role of the Tactical Commander during a SWAT operation or what is the role of SWAT during protest, natural disasters and other major events.


So to your question on which class is best for an agency – I would in turn ask the following of those leaders who are considering which class to send their supervisors to. If you have identified that you may not be as prepared as you would like  for a significant incident, and your looking to start this process – send your supervisors to the Critical Incident Command Class. Your leaders will return with training ideas and strategies on how to prepare and plan for a major incident.

If you have new supervisors or soon to be supervisors on your SWAT team, or your looking to confirm that what your team is doing is correct, then send them to the Tactical Commanders Course.


By hosting both of these courses at the same location agencies can send a single individual to two dynamically different courses that are designed to be mutually supportive.  Or they could send separate officers to each course and leverage the benefits across the department.  In any case, these are two distinct programs and we sincerely appreciate Westminster Police Department providing this opportunity to agencies to develop leaders in thier organizations.


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