Retired agent Roland “Rod” Swanson served in the FBI for 20 years. In this episode of FBI Retired Case File Review, Rod Swanson reviews how, although retired, he used his FBI experience and training to assist FBI Victim Services personnel with the recovery, identification, and return of personal items left behind by victims of the Las Vegas mass shooting. On October 1, 2017, in what was the largest mass shooting incident in US history, 58 concert goers were killed, an additional 422 people were shot, two died later, and more than 800 people were injured at the Route 91 Harvest Festival in Las Vegas, NV. Rod shares his initial frustration when he realized that his retirement status meant that after years of preparation he could not participate in the investigation of this major crisis event.
The first Bureau assignment for Rod Swanson, a former Army Infantry captain, was the Philadelphia Division where he worked on the Violent Crime Fugitive Task Force, was a relief supervisor, SWAT Operator, and firearms instructor. He was next selected to become a member of Director Mueller’s protective detail, and then to serve as an International Terrorism Operations supervisor at FBI Headquarters. He was later promoted to supervise the Transnational Criminal Enterprise Squad and the Joint Terrorism Task Force in the Las Vegas Field Office. He was also assigned as a Deputy On-Scene Commander, in Baghdad, Iraq and as the Legal Attaché in Sana’a Yemen, which was also responsible for Djibouti/Ethiopia. Upon his return to US and the Las Vegas Division, Rod was placed on the Public Corruption Squad. After his retirement from the FBI, he served for five years as the Chief of Investigations, for the Nevada Office of the Attorney General. Currently, Rod is the owner and lead consultant at RDS Consulting, LLC where he advises corporate security officers on continuity risk, crisis management, threat evaluation and mitigation, and executive protection. He can be reached via his LinkedIn profile his LinkedIn profile.
Special Agent (Retired)
Roland “Rod” Swanson
July 23, 1995-Sept 18, 2015
“There’s phones with pictures and video, there’s wallets and purses. The last things that some family member may have of their loved one who didn’t make it. That’s important stuff. Part of the recovery and healing process.”—Retired Agent Rod Swanson
The following are links to video, photos, and articles about the mass shooting at the Route 91 Harvest Festival on October 1, 2017 and information about the FBI Victim Assistance Program:
LinkedIn – 1/19/2021: A Former FBI Agent’s Biggest Lesson Learned from the Vegas Mass Shooting Incident
FBI.gov Website – Victim Services Overview
FBI Brochure pdf – FBI
ABC News (VIDEO) – 12/19/2018: A Killer on Floor 32 l Watch the FULL Documentary
USA Today – 10/4/2017: ‘This can’t be happening’: The fateful 11 minutes of the Las Vegas mass shooting
Wall Street Journal – 9/20/2018: One Year Later, Experts Dig Deeper to Find Vegas Shooter’s Motive
Reuters – 10/8/2017: Las Vegas concertgoers claim personal items left after massacre
The Guardian – 9/30/2020: Victims and relatives of Las Vegas Strip mass shooting to receive $800m settlement