While on patrol you get a radio call of a robbery in progress at the bank. You are 200 yards away from the bank at the time. When you arrive seconds later there is a suspect in a van in front of the bank with the motor running and four men run out of the bank; they are armed with assault rifles and wearing camouflage clothing. The year is 1980, in
The officer immediately took fire and was hit. Despite this he exited his patrol car, and returned fire with his shotgun, killing the driver of the van. As other units arrived the suspects fled in a second vehicle, their first was disabled when the driver was killed and he crashed. The suspects continued to fire at the responding units. Over the next couple days eight officers were wounded, one killed and two suspects killed in what became known as the Norco Shootout. Dozens of police cars were destroyed and even a police helicopter was shot down. It changed law enforcement for those agencies progressive enough to review and implement the changes needed to respond to this type of criminal.
Foreshadowing the advent of modern terrorism and active shooters, the Norco Bank Robbery suspects used military gear, automatic weapons, home made bombs, and planned to die rather than surrender. Since then many agencies have upgraded their communications and mutual aid procedures. Many agencies now put patrol rifles in each patrol car and most officers are armed with semi-automatic pistols with much greater magazine capacity compared to their revolvers. Many agencies use firearms simulator training and also more dynamic training to be ready for these types of crimes. More is needed to be done; that’s what the SGT Says.