New SWAT plan praised by law enforcement - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

New SWAT plan praised by law enforcement

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July 20, 2007

Albany - - As city and county leaders move forward with re-organizing the Special Weapons and Tactical Team, there seems to be overwhelming support from public safety agencies to join the new regional team.

It means more officers will have input on its operation.

When several specially-trained SWAT team members resigned making allegations of poor leadership, it left a squad in trouble.

"I can't comment on what any other person said related to this issue. All I can tell you is that the five of us are going to work diligently to sustain the SWAT team," says City Manager Al Lott.

Yet, he knew something had to be done. That something means the Sheriff and all area police chiefs are now steering the ship.

What it all boils down to is keeping you safe. All of the area law enforcement agencies like the plan. It shows your tax dollars being put to good use.

"How can I say I'm in a police department, but I don't want to participate in the SWAT team? That's ludicrous. We have to be involved," says Albany State University Police Chief Roberson Brown.

He says with SWAT being open to all departments, some of his officers want to step up to the plate.

"Well I've had four officers express an interest in wanting to be a part of SWAT."

To get them ready, he started an in-house training with swat-like tactics including exercise drills and sharpened shooting techniques.

At the Albany Regional Airport there are two police officers on staff. At least one of them says he plans to try out too.

"I'm sure we're not re-inventing the wheel because SWAT is not new, we just want to fine tune it and have some say so in the policy, direction, and how the unit is unified, what does it take to be a SWAT member," Brown says.

Chief Brown says he's writing proposals to Albany Police Chief James Younger and the other members now on the leadership team to help strengthen the department.

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