Episode Three: Eye of the Storm
What price are we willing to pay to keep our nation safe? The personal toll of being in the line of fire is examined in Eye of the Storm, the third and final episode of Line of Fire. Focusing on the unpredictable and increasingly volatile crime of the 1990’s and 2000’s, this episode reveals the changing face of armed offending and the huge impact it has had on the operations of the Armed Offenders Squads (AOS). With frontline police now routinely carrying firearms and criminals presenting weapons with alarming regularity, what is the future of the highly-trained specialist AOS?
The haunting horror of the massacre at Aramoana will remain with squad members forever. The outcome they finally force upon David Gray challenges them in ways they as individuals had never considered. They talk for the first time of the final moments at Aramoana, the repercussions both official and back in their own homes, poignant and sad.
"As he lay on the ground I pointed my MP5 machine gun at his head, and I seriously thought about killing him. For a second. But I didn't, because I'm not a murderer."
ATS squad member
The 1990’s and 2000’s are a frightening new era of violent incidents for the Armed Offenders Squads as the levels of NZ crime hit new heights, crossing unsuspected boundaries and forcing the AOS to become tactically more aggressive. Gang warfare, the rise of P – it seems that there are fearless lunatics on sprees everywhere.
This is today. Our country. Our criminals, whose actions have devastating un-heard of side effects.
"I just went home and tried to put it out of my mind. Everyone has dealt with numerous situations - you have to move on, you can't dwell on it. If you dwell on it you're finished."
ATS squad member
Key interviewees in Eye of the Storm include one of the first females to join the AOS and features an officer shot in the line of duty – who glibly discusses his medals:
"I got that one for being shot, and I got that one for shooting someone. I can tell you it’s better to give than receive."
Eye of the Storm examines the lowest points of the job. One member talks openly about the time he fired a fatal shot and the enormous toll that took – and continues to take – on his life. Other members battle the evolving crime of today – abductions, armed convicts fleeing custody, P fiends with hostages on the motorway firing at police with wild abandon…
In the final episode of Line of Fire the members take us into the very worst situations imaginable. This is perhaps the most hard-hitting episode, for the squad members and their families at home.
The terrifying crime of the 1990’s and 2000’s dictates that these men and women risk their lives in increasingly more diabolical situations.
What drives these men and women to do this largely thankless job?' '