50 Years of SWAT: Dave Kirchner

Dave Kirchner joined the FBI as a special agent in 1980, working first in Kansas City for eight months before moving to the Chicago Field Office, where he was a SWAT operator for 21 years before retiring in 2003.

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We were visiting with my brother and his wife and my sister in law was really inquisitive about the FBI and what my son was doing and my past. And she asked me what was the most rewarding aspect of being an agent? And I said, well, personally was being involved in SWAT and my role as a team leader.

And I certainly didn't have all the answers. I had extremely talented guys on my team. I worked with other guys that were team leaders, But probably the most rewarding thing of all, and I don't mean this in any way, shape ,or form against any ASACs, but when the defecation hit the oscillator and we responded to some really nasty situations, even the really most experienced competent ASACs had this big sigh of relief when we arrived on the scene.

And we were street agents, experienced, but we had been trained. And we literally broke it down to see what we needed to do to protect lives, how to, you know, potentially make apprehensions or arrests or to minimize danger to others. And it's not real complicated. However, you had to be exposed to it. You had to kind of be, you know, common sense approach to it all.

And that's what probably was the most gratifying thing of it all is that when we arrived on the scene as a group, when the elements to make decisions on that regard, they leaned on us completely.

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