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Old 05-31-2019, 03:45 PM   #11
martinl
 
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Default Re: US Law Enforcement Response, Time, Scale and Coordination (Galveston, TX)

Are boat-based escapes off the table?
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Old 05-31-2019, 04:21 PM   #12
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Default Re: US Law Enforcement Response, Time, Scale and Coordination (Galveston, TX)

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Response time to an armed incident is fast, probably 20 minutes. Maybe less if police were injured. Cops oddly find themselves available to respond faster if one of their own is hit.
A lot depends on where the patrol vehicles are located.

Galveston PD might have anywhere from three to seven active patrol vehicles on the night shift unaccounted for. Unless Galveston PD have a lot more police presence than Reykjavík (where the PD is responsible for roughly four times the population and orders of magnitude more area) at night, there are only about three more cars on patrol right after midnight and there won't be all that many people at the station.

Galveston PD is just around 150 people, including detectives and support staff, which means that the patrol division is somewhere from 50-75 people. That makes it impractical to have patrol shifts that number much more than 10-15 people. So, Galveston PD doesn't have more than a few cars to respond with and unless midnight is a shift change for them, only one or two will be at the station, the rest will be, well, on patrol.

Galveston County Sheriff's Office is three times bigger, but more than half of their number are more like correctional officers, being responsible for the County Jail, prisoner transport, etc. There will be cars and officers at their station, much more numerous than at the local PD station next door, as they handle intake, processing, etc. Even so, absent a shift change, most of their patrol vehicles are spread around their patrol area, which is far larger than that of the Galveston PD. In fact, it can take a hour to get back from parts of it and none of the Sheriff's patrol cars will be patrolling near the shooting, as that's Galveston PD jurisdiction.

Total, unless shift change is at midnight, maybe three to six vehicles are actually at the two stations and ready to head out as soon as the officers run out, hopefully already wearing vests and with patrol carbines in their vehicles (actually optional, some have shotguns, some have only handguns). Random determination for how far away the rest of their patrol cars are, with no more than a couple having a chance of being inside Galveston proper.

Aside from that, it matters a lot how well coordinated the response from Texas DPS Highway Patrol, Gulf Coast Violent Offenders Task Force and any other departments or agencies that might lend support. To close off escape, the authorities need reinforcements from the other side of the Galveston Causeway.

Three cars with six cops in them, only half of whom have longarms, aren't going to successfully block two cars and a truck carrying a dozen men with longarms, especially not as all of the OpFor have combat experience (not all of them have professional military training, but all have fought several actions), two of them are competent former soldiers in their late thirties who have a lifetime of tactical and security experience, as well as proper training in defensive driving, close protection, etc., and one is a former Spetsnaz sniper with lots of urban warfare experience.

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If this was a high-risk transport the police would have had back-up ready, the response time may be cut down by 5 minutes and could include SWAT.
It was a fairly routine arrest of a person of interest, someone who might as well have been a vixtim or witness rather than a perpetrator. At worst, she was suspected of having been an accomplice after the fact. She did not resist arrest and the officers who take her in are thinking that it looks like she's another kidnap victim, but she was cuffed and arrested as a material witness mostly as a matter of procedure, because there is always a chance that she was with the killer willingly and was complicit in the murders.

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The police may not have clear enough Intel to cut the attackers in a barricade. They may make an error in assuming their route or just decide they're not certain enough of where they perpetrators are going to sacrifice units that could be searching for them.
There are two open roads where it's possible to drive from Galveston to the mainland. It's the I-45, which takes aroud six minutes from where the shooting is, and another, roundabout route, which would reach a point from where ,ultiple routes were possible again in about two hours.

In a world with radios, no one is going to make it out using the latter, because even the worst inter-agency cooperation possible would still have law enforcement waiting by the time the OpFor finished their scenic drive.

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I don't know that the police would choose to block traffic to stop guys with assault rifles. They wouldn't want more police injured. They'd need to be sure they could minimize loss of life before they forced a confrontation. More likely they'd follow the vehicle with a helicopter until they can use a swat team in a controlled area.
This is why it's vital to know when there would be a helicopter in the air, who can ask for support from agencies that have one and how long it would take to reach the area in question.

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If they stole the ambulance it's going to be easy to track. It's a big white truck with a number on top for IDing from the sky. They'll be able to track them with a helicopter or drone from so far away there's almost no chance the perpetrators will spot them.
The OpFor will not steal an ambulance. They have two rental SUVs, two rental Chevy Malibu sedans, two very ordinary-looking sedans and one box truck. Of these, the SUVs and box truck take part in the ambush and one surveillance sedan hopefully passes unnoticed while going the same way. Their goal is to get over the bridge before response is coordinated, reach a side street and a parking lot there where there are three new cars waiting. Depending on how wrll they do, they'll reach that place in somehwere between six minutes (only if everything succeeds perfectly) and fifteen minutes (most likely too late), with a plausible margin being 8-10 minutes.

Is that soon enough not to be seen by a helicopter as they change cars?

Will they manage to get over the bridge without cop cars on their tail?
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Old 05-31-2019, 04:37 PM   #13
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Default Re: US Law Enforcement Response, Time, Scale and Coordination (Galveston, TX)

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Are boat-based escapes off the table?
Regrettably, the answer to that is probably yes.

None of the OpFor are naval people and they were certainly not recruited for their boating experience. I suppose there is a chance that one of the dozen sicarios has a hobby or used to work on a smuggling boat or something, but if so, the OpFor leader wouldn't know about it, as the dozen shooters are out-of-towners lent to him to do a single job. Events have overtaken him, so he won't do that job now, but as it turns out, the preparations for attacking the PCs will work for this ad hoc rescue operation. In fact, with only slight modifications, so will their extraction plan.

The OpFor already have four cars and two box trucks, but they have no boats. And obtaining boats in the two hours they have since they determined that they'd have to shoot cops seems difficult. I mean, aren't boat rental places closed after 22:00 at night?
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Old 05-31-2019, 04:42 PM   #14
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Default Re: US Law Enforcement Response, Time, Scale and Coordination (Galveston, TX)

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Three cars with six cops in them, only half of whom have longarms, aren't going to successfully block two cars and a truck carrying a dozen men with longarms
Three cars ... and a helicopter who will follow them, keeping an eye on them, while an ever increasing swarm of police forces show up.

If the bad guys want to have any chance of success, the first thing they'll do after the raid it split up and ditch the hardware, because their only chance is sneaking. Fighting is just an elaborate way of committing suicide, staying in the area will eventually get them caught (it will take a couple days for the response to ramp up fully, but there will be an awful lot of people looking for them).
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This is why it's vital to know when there would be a helicopter in the air, who can ask for support from agencies that have one and how long it would take to reach the area in question.
Most urban areas will have something at least monitoring traffic in the air
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Old 05-31-2019, 05:02 PM   #15
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Default Re: US Law Enforcement Response, Time, Scale and Coordination (Galveston, TX)

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Three cars ... and a helicopter who will follow them, keeping an eye on them, while an ever increasing swarm of police forces show up.
Ah, yes. How long from shots fired to a helicopter having eyes on them?

Neither Galveston PD nor the Galveston County Sheriff's Office has helicopters. There are rescue helicopters on the island, but they don't circle it waiting for a call, they'd have to be launched. The civilian airfield, with numerous helicopters, is closed at night, with Houston serving as relief.

Houston PD keeps two helicopters in the air 21 hours out of 24. Edit: No, actually, they did in 2010. Now, they no longer patrol more than three hours per day. Estimated time from a radio call for officer-related shooting in Houston to a helicopter in the air above it is 15 minutes, which makes the union furious. Obviously, it's a cost-cutting measure.

In any case, the Houston PD helicopters aren't on the Galveston PD radio networks and someone would have to request them, using a phone to talk to someone in charge, who'd then contact the choppers. They are MD500E models and patrol a 700 square mile area, the closest edge of which is around 35-40 miles away from the ambush spot. Houston PD has no jurisdiction on Galveston, of course, but that might not prevent them from lending assistance. Unless, of course, that proper procedure is to wait for a helicopter from a state or federal agency, after Galveston PD requests assistance.

The Texas DPS and the Coast Guard both have helicopters with bases near Houston, but as far as I can tell, there is no guarantee there would be one in the air, let alone close to Galveston while loitering in the air. In fact, with only 14 helicopters to cover all of Texas (meaning that no more than an average of three are likely to be airborne at a time), it's very unlikely that DPS has a helicopter airborne within a few hundred miles. Any other law enforcement or rescue helicopters I found in Southeast Texas would take 30 minutes or more to launch.

I'm not sure about the Harris County Sheriff's Office. They have a couple of helicopters, but too few to keep one in the air at all times. I suspect they have one available for fairly quick launch, but that would still mean 15 -30 minutes.

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If the bad guys want to have any chance of success, the first thing they'll do after the raid it split up and ditch the hardware, because their only chance is hiding. Fighting is just an elaborate way of committing suicide.
Their plan is to split up, ditch the hardware and drive away posing as ordinary motorists, but before they do, they have to get to a place where that is possible. As there is pretty much no hiding on the I-45 Galveston Causeway, the only practical way off the island, they can't split up or hide until they reach the other side, with multiple possible routes for escape.

That's 5.6 miles away, by freeway. In order for the operation to be even remotely feasible, it would have to take eight minutes or more from the first shot until the causeway is blocked and/or there is a helicopter following them. As the leader of the OpFor estimates that he'd probably not be able to escape his terrifying employers if he refused, he'll accept a 50% chance of success and will absolutely sacrifice as many sicarios as needed, if not his own two men or the scary Russian (and that only because investigation could link them to him, whereas he really has no personal connections with the sicarios, they just serve the same masters).
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Old 05-31-2019, 07:22 PM   #16
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Default Re: US Law Enforcement Response, Time, Scale and Coordination (Galveston, TX)

In no particular order:

If you have an emergency response vehicle transporting someone with a medical emergency, the vehicle will move with lights flashing, sirens wailing, etc. Was this the case during transport?

In an age with cell phones, radio, etc - police under fire tend to relay that information directly. The clock starts ticking as soon as the initial report is made.

Traffic lights tend to add transit time in ordinary areas, stop signs will cause vehicles to have to stop or risk accidents due to traffic control issues.

Add in a paramilitary style attack, that becomes a breaking news event with terrorist overtones. That kind of thing tends to put police agencies in high alert in the near vicinity, quickly spreading to other units in a widening spiral.

If the attackers have no exit plan in place before the ambush, sufficient video filmed by smart phones will quickly identify the paramilitary actors sufficiently well enough for other police units to start watching for them.

Most expressways will have patrolling cars hunting for speeding violation drivers. Those alone will act as picket units who radio in information -ESPECIALLY if the attackers are speeding.

What the full background in so of this depends on you.
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Old 05-31-2019, 07:30 PM   #17
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Default Re: US Law Enforcement Response, Time, Scale and Coordination (Galveston, TX)

I would say it is unlikely that they can be stopped from crossing the bridge, but also unlikely that they can get across the bridge without picking up a tail (probably Highway Patrol), and while people do sometimes succeed in escaping a police chase, it's quite uncommon, particularly if the police are motivated, which they would be.
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Old 05-31-2019, 07:46 PM   #18
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Default Re: US Law Enforcement Response, Time, Scale and Coordination (Galveston, TX)

The ambushers will probably use cell phone/radio jammers to slow response times (while highly illegal in the USA, they are already committing capital offenses, so I doubt they will care). The ambushers should probably have two vehicles in front of the ambulance with jammers that the driver can activate with a button when they receive the call before the attack. After they hit the button, nothing intelligible is getting to or from the ambulance or its escorts, meaning that the police will have no idea what they are facing or where the ambulance is going unless they have a constant chopper escort.
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Old 05-31-2019, 07:59 PM   #19
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Default Re: US Law Enforcement Response, Time, Scale and Coordination (Galveston, TX)

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If you have an emergency response vehicle transporting someone with a medical emergency, the vehicle will move with lights flashing, sirens wailing, etc. Was this the case during transport?
It was not. For liability reasons as well as general humanity, Galveston PD does not want to process someone merely arrested as a material witness into the County Jail when there is a reason to believe they have sustained a concussion without an MRI and a medical examination, but the person in question does not seem to be suffering an emergency. The ambulance was called based on a report that the person was unconscious, but when officers actually saw her, she was conscious and apparently responsive, although somewhat confused.

There is sufficient reason to take her to an ER, but not to speed with flashing lights while doing so. I checked with medical professionals and first responders and they were unanimous that with symtpoms as described, the ambulance would drive directly to the hospital, but do so while obeying all ordinary traffic laws.

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In an age with cell phones, radio, etc - police under fire tend to relay that information directly. The clock starts ticking as soon as the initial report is made.
Naturally. The OpFor leader is estimating that he'll have, at most, ten minutes from the first shot to the extraction point. He'd like to do it in 6-7 minutes, but would settle for eight. Nine or more minutes likely means having to fight off determined police pursuit and probably having to sacrifice one or two cars with sicarios (who will not agree to self-sacrifice, but who might be deceived into it).

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Traffic lights tend to add transit time in ordinary areas, stop signs will cause vehicles to have to stop or risk accidents due to traffic control issues.
There don't seem to be lights or stop signs on the section of I-45 that the OpFor needs to drive to reach their extraction point. There is an on ramp and an exit, no lights or stop signs that I can see.

The ambush point is at a stop sign, but past that, there do not seem to be any.

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Originally Posted by hal View Post
Add in a paramilitary style attack, that becomes a breaking news event with terrorist overtones. That kind of thing tends to put police agencies in high alert in the near vicinity, quickly spreading to other units in a widening spiral.
Absolutely. And the OpFor would have to be in the wind before that response really started to ramp up.

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If the attackers have no exit plan in place before the ambush, sufficient video filmed by smart phones will quickly identify the paramilitary actors sufficiently well enough for other police units to start watching for them.
The OpFor are hoping that no one will get clear pictures of them during the 6-10 minutes from the first shot and until they split up in different cars on the other side of the Galveston Causeway.

Realistically, their cars will be caught on survillance cameras, but that's why they are leaving them behind and escaping in different ones, ones not associated with a police shooting.

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Originally Posted by hal View Post
Most expressways will have patrolling cars hunting for speeding violation drivers. Those alone will act as picket units who radio in information -ESPECIALLY if the attackers are speeding.
The OpFor are hoping that the 5.6 miles they have to cover until they reach their getaway carsn, can ditch the ambush cars and split up will not contain any law enforcement vehicle. They'll have scouted the escape route four times in the past two hours, but obviously could have bad luck and have a Highway Patrol car arrive just after the last scout moves through to take up his position.
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Old 05-31-2019, 08:50 PM   #20
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Default Re: US Law Enforcement Response, Time, Scale and Coordination (Galveston, TX)

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The ambushers will probably use cell phone/radio jammers to slow response times (while highly illegal in the USA, they are already committing capital offenses, so I doubt they will care). The ambushers should probably have two vehicles in front of the ambulance with jammers that the driver can activate with a button when they receive the call before the attack. After they hit the button, nothing intelligible is getting to or from the ambulance or its escorts, meaning that the police will have no idea what they are facing or where the ambulance is going unless they have a constant chopper escort.
The OpFor may be willing to commit capital offences, but that doesn't produce advanced or illegal communication equipment out of nowhere. Their weapons, optics and ammunition are all bought in Dallas gun stores and aside from the box truck that the scary Russian drives, their vehicles are rentals (by means of credit card fraud for some, but in their own names for others, who are going to have to flee the US to a non-extradition treaty country, if possible).

The operation was launched hurriedly, with full knowledge it would likely burn numerous assets, and the intended targets were the PCs. As events turned out, the person that the OpFor must rescue at all costs was hidden away on a yacht, with daunting security, and two hours ago, the OpFor tentatively decided that it would be easier to rescue her from the police, if properly handled. So they called the police with an anonymous tip and then spent two hours adjusting their plans to strike at an ambulance instead of the PCs' vehicle or dwelling, as originally planned.

About 24 hours ago, the sicarios were in California, the leader and his two men were in Dallas, and the scary Russian was in Galveston doing mysterious criminal things with his occult buddies. None of them knew that they'd have to plan and execute a military operation in Galveston the next night. Hell, none of the sicarios had even been to Galveston.
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