SWAT unit endures more defections - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

SWAT unit endures more defections

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July 13, 2007

Albany-  More resignations from the Albany Dougherty SWAT Team.  This time they're Albany Police officers.  Friday's two resignations bring to six the number of SWAT members who've quit this week. 

Albany Police Chief James Younger, who's in charge of the unit, refuses to answer any questions about the resignations. In a prepared statement, he said he'll raise the squad's standards.

Now, resigning officers are trying to regroup under the Sheriff's office.

Albany Police Chief James Younger won't say much about the crisis that essentially put the Special Weapons and Tactical Team out of business. Friday afternoon, he did say participation is voluntary, and he's opened tryouts to other agencies, including school police and ASU.

He also strengthened requirements. "A judgement shooting course to determine the appropriateness of responses of various scenarios that might require a use of force. Number two, I added a psychological examination," said APD Chief James Younger.

Younger also added a personnel file review, but that's all the chief is saying about the recent resignations. We had several questions today including, how many members remain, does the Chief thinks he's responsible for the resignations, how many have signed up for tryouts, but when we tried to ask....

"No, no questions," said Younger.

Two Albany Police officers, Sgt. Victor Camp and Cpl. Jason Burton, turned in their resignations Friday. With Albany's SWAT Team virtually non-existent, Dougherty County Sheriff Jamil Saba plans to start a new SWAT team. He hopes to make a regional unit like the team that covers Crisp, Tift, and Turner Counties.

"The more people you've got in this SWAT the better you are and the safer it is, because you've got people who can relieve people of their duties right there," said Saba.

Sheriff Saba says they've missed grant and budget opportunities to fund the team, but he plans to find the money somewhere in his budget. Saba also said this new startup will be run by a board of all the involved agencies.

"We need to protect and serve the people of this community that's what we're here for and we need to, do the thing right," said Saba.

Saba said those who resigned from the APD SWAT have said they would rejoin. Starting a SWAT Team won't be cheap for the county. Bullet proof vests alone can cost up to $1,500 a piece.

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