Derrick D. Bartlett
472 Lakeside Circle
Ft. Lauderdale, FL 33326
An Open Letter to the Sniper Community
To My Brothers in Arms,
For those of you unfamiliar with us, Snipercraft is a nonprofit organization formed in 1992 with the primary goal of “Joining the Sniper Community.” We are all active police officers, tactical team members, and snipers. Our objective then, as it is now, was to encourage communication and information sharing within the ranks of tactical snipers throughout the country. We are reaching our goals through schools, seminars, competitive training events and our newsletter.
In our latest project, we asked the members of the tactical community for help. We needed information.
Each time a sniper is deployed, lessons are learned. Some lessons may seem small and insignificant, but they could be life, or career saving revelations to someone else. However, even the most important of lessons is wasted if no one passes it on. We created the Sniper-Related Incident Form as a tool to help us gather information from active police snipers. The form asks for specific callout data, like circumstances, distances, conditions, and equipment. It also gives the sniper a chance to detail any “lessons learned” during a specific deployment. And the deployment documented does not have to be about a shooting incident, although those are the most coveted.
As a quick sidebar, obtaining incidents where snipers use deadly force is extremely important. We could rely on news stories, or second and third hand accounts of such incidents. However, we all know how reliable such sources usually are. If we are to be able to use these incidents as teaching tools, it is critical we have factual, first-hand information to pass on. That kind of information can only be provided by the agency, team, and snipers involved. YOU!
Last year, we distributed our Sniper-Related Incident Form to several large audience outlets. These included The Tactical Edge, POLICE Magazine, The Police Marksman, ITOA Newsletter, and the California Association of Tactical Officers website, just to name a few. The form, and its intended purpose, has been endorsed by the NTOA, CATO, ITOA, and other tactical associations around the country. By providing a simple form, we hoped to encourage a greater flow of incoming information about police sniper operations and deployments.
Despite the widespread availability of the form, to date, we have received only three responses. This is beyond disappointing.
The irony of this is, if we were asking for financial assistance for a legal defense fund, I’m sure money would happily be donated. Or if one of us had died, I could count on the support and sympathy of the entire community. Instead we are asking for information, and our brothers have chosen to remain silent.
The thousands of tactical snipers around the country represent tens of thousands of years of practical experience, gained during hundreds of thousands of deployments. We have stories to tell, and an obligation to pass on the body of our collective knowledge. After all, each us learned our trade under someone else’s tutelage. Where would you be if they had chosen silence over sharing?
We are members of a specialized trade. Among police officers, we represent the elite of the elite. We share a position of incredible difficulty and responsibility. We need to recognize the importance of opening the lines of communication and sharing our experiences and knowledge. We are all in this together. We gain nothing by keeping secrets.
Understand our intent, and trust our motives. We are sincere in our desire to “Join the Sniper Community.” The linking element is the sharing of information. This information will be used exclusively to educate other snipers. We will not judge, or embarrass any contributing team and simply let the facts of each submission speak for themselves. No one outside the community will have access to any of the data collected. I want every contributor to feel comfortable in telling their stories, good or bad, in unabridged detail.
I can’t give up on this project. So, again, I ask the members of the Sniper Community to take the time to fill out a Sniper-Related Incident Form and return it to us. The form can still be obtained from Snipercraft by mail, or printed from our website. Some of you may still have copies of the magazines which have published the forms. If you want more information, please call and talk to me. I would like the chance to make you understand how important this is to all of us.
“Share your knowledge. It is a way to achieve immortality.”
I’ll be waiting to hear from you.
Derrick Bartlett, Snipercraft, Inc.
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