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Forum editorial: Good work by SWAT officers

There was a kind of poetic justice at work when the local SWAT team subdued a man who, 15 years ago, was involved in an incident that led to the creation of the SWAT team. Leonard Ritter kept the team and others at the ready for nine hours Wednes...

There was a kind of poetic justice at work when the local SWAT team subdued a man who, 15 years ago, was involved in an incident that led to the creation of the SWAT team. Leonard Ritter kept the team and others at the ready for nine hours Wednesday at an apartment in a south Fargo neighborhood. Ritter created the standoff by barricading himself in an apartment, firing several shots and causing the building to be evacuated. When he tried to flee by jumping from a balcony, officers used a Taser and physical force to capture and restrain him.

As dramatic as Ritter's arrest was, the real story goes to the patience and professionalism of SWAT team members and other law enforcement personnel on the scene. Not only did they contain the suspect, they deliberately cleared the building and secured the neighborhood. It was a broad daylight situation, so controlling access to the area was crucial.

The team has enough firepower to convince any sane violator to surrender peacefully. Ritter apparently was not going to surrender peacefully, having made that clear when he fired shots from a handgun through a door and into a robot that police were using in an attempt to communicate with him. Nonetheless, officers used sound judgment in waiting him out.

The result was as good as it gets in such volatile and dangerous confrontations. Ritter was arrested and no one was injured. Officers on the scene did not have to fire a shot. It was good police work from start to finish.

And as for Ritter, he certainly must see the irony in being corralled by a SWAT team that was formed because of his illegal conduct some 15 years ago.

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Forum editorials represent the opinion of Forum management and the newspaper's Editorial Board.

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