Rethinking time for SWAT

Reconsidering SWAT

SWAT is a contemporary element of policing in america, which is widely used by all police staff and patrols. In the recent years, the need for limiting the cost on SWAT has increased, and this has brought about the importance to reallocate the resources of SWAT. Specialists have put forth various ideas to restrict the budget of SWAT, including a decrease in the establishment of other agencies as well as units of municipal SWAT which will examine a case before entrusting it to SWAT, thereby cutting down the work load. Before being executed, all these ideas must be seen.

The April issue featured the magazine's first Sound Off column, entitled "Reconsidering SWAT," by Lt. Tom Gabor of the Culver City, California, Police Department. In the column, Lieutenant Gabor recognized that SWAT is an essential part of contemporary policing. At exactly the same time, nevertheless, he challenged the need for allocating scarce resources to municipal SWAT units in light of countywide or regional mutual aid arrangements. Lieutenant Gabor additionally supported administrators to reassess the requirement for SWAT call outs, indicating that patrol units could satisfactorily resolve lots of scenarios that now lead to SWAT deployment.

This Sound Away created a large amount of reader comments. Many readers who responded agreed with the writer's position. Nevertheless, some dissenting opinions were expressed by readers.

Corp. C. Carter of the Barstow, California, Police Department concurred with facets of the column, concurring that "there are many scenarios in which patrol officers can get the job done without the need for a SWAT team." At exactly the same time, he expressed concern that "administrators facing budget restraints will use this-kind of believing and put the lives of policemen and innocents in risk, unnecessarily." Corporal Carter elaborates, "SWAT is similar to the pistol we take .... We do not desire or expect to have to use it but we need it now and we desire it to work when we desire it. I believe Lieutenant Gabor is really on the correct path in spirit. [Nevertheless], rather than reconsider SWAT, let us think of how we can take a useful resource and enlarge upon it."

Other readers differed with the writer's declaration that successful protection may be preserved with a decrease in municipal SWAT units. Lt. Lee D. Rossman of the West Covina, California, Police Department uncertainties that removing SWAT would generate substantial savings, because many SWAT units around the State already work within quite small budget restraints--"some to the stage where team members purchase their own gear and train on their own time." Referring to the writer's entire assumption, Lieutenant Rossman expressed worry that "the research was quite small .... I'd propose that he attend a National Tactical Officer's Association Conference and learn from SWAT Units through the state what their SWAT Units really do."

Pointing out that county law enforcement agencies face the exact same budget constraints as municipal sections, Sgt. Kevin C. Rohrer, Patrol Division Manager and Tactical Unit Leader of the Medina County, Ohio, Sheriff's Department, warns against "dropping critical events in your local sheriff's lap." Sergeant Rohrer guides agencies to analyse their particular conditions before disbanding SWAT teams although supporting the notion of rationalization in general. Bureaus should contemplate "jurisdictional issues" and "response times," along with some other factors, when making any decision regarding reallocation of SWAT resources. Sergeant Rohrer also warns against an over-reliance upon patrol: "The melting pot of patrol isn't the position we can anticipate to randomly bring individuals effective at coping with all circumstances .... Equipped and having the employment of a small, cohesive group of exceptionally skilled, experienced people is the best bet for solving critical events. And that group can just be SWAT."

Responses supplies a forum for reader replies to Sound Off, a column in which criminal justice pr express alternate viewpoints on approved practices or address appearing, and possibly contentious, issu The ideas expressed in these answers are only those of the writers and don't always r opinions of their sections or the FBI.