Training and collaboration helped police resolve Graduate Hotel standoff

More than eight metro law enforcement agencies assisted in resolving the 38-hour standoff.

Minneapolis Assistant Police Chief Mike Kjos and UMPD Chief Matt Clark answer questions Tuesday, Jan. 30 after Rashad Bowman's arrest at the Graduate Hotel. The nearly 38-hour standoff ended in Bowman's arrest just before 2 p.m. on Tuesday, Jan. 30.

Jack Rodgers

Minneapolis Assistant Police Chief Mike Kjos and UMPD Chief Matt Clark answer questions Tuesday, Jan. 30 after Rashad Bowman’s arrest at the Graduate Hotel. The nearly 38-hour standoff ended in Bowman’s arrest just before 2 p.m. on Tuesday, Jan. 30.

Michael Achterling

The 38-hour standoff at the Graduate Hotel on the University of Minnesota campus last week ended without harm.

The end to the standoff was made possible by a coalition of law enforcement agencies that collaborated to secure the suspect, 46-year-old Lincoln Bowman of Woodbury, formerly identified by police as Rashad Bowman. Law enforcement officials say police and SWAT training for prevention of mass-casualty events was partially responsible for ending the standoff.

“Training for events in which we need a structured response, … we’ve done that for many years,” said University of Minnesota Police Department Chief Matt Clark.

UMPD participated in active shooter training last July with roughly 120 law enforcement officers from five different agencies to prepare for Super Bowl LII, he said.

More metro-area law enforcement agencies were gathered in Minneapolis during Super Bowl week, Clark said, allowing agencies to cover both the standoff and U.S. Bank Stadium security.

Minneapolis Police Department spokesperson Scott Seroka said officers of all departments are trained for similar incidents.

An after-action assessment report will be completed in the coming months to provide feedback surrounding the incident and possible new training topics in the future, Seroka said.

“The crisis negotiators all put in very long hours and all performed exemplary,” he said.

Snipers, negotiators and breach-and-clear teams require special training certifications and undergo monthly refreshers, said Liam Duggan, director of training and development for the Special Operations Training Association. Duggan is also a member of the St. Paul Police Department, and spoke about general SWAT practices and training.

“Sometimes breaching a door is a pair of bolt cutters,” Duggan said. “Other times, breaching a door is an explosive charge, and each different level of tool, you [require] a much higher level of training.”

Training officers in different specialties can take days or weeks, and monthly follow-up classes are often required, Duggan said.

Police departments across the state train cooperatively and independently for mass casualty events to ensure fast decision-making, he said.

“It’s hard to teach instincts,” Duggan said. “Instead, what we teach officers is … trying to anticipate behavior.”

When police officers know various methods of response to tense situations, he said they can react quickly when things escalate.

Several law enforcement agencies participated in the Graduate Hotel standoff: MPD, UMPD, East Metro SWAT, Dakota and Ramsey County SWAT, Hennepin County Emergency Medical Services, Minnesota State Patrol and the Minneapolis Fire Department.