SWAT will have new leadership - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

SWAT will have new leadership

August 16, 2007

Albany  --  A joint board has been established to oversee the new Albany-Dougherty Metro SWAT unit.
The board consists of the heads of seven law enforcement agencies, and they have their work cut out for them.  

The Chiefs of seven agencies greeted each other as they met for a second time to re-organize SWAT. They quickly got to business behind closed doors, but 45 minutes later emerged with a new board and name for the team.

"There will be a policy board to set policy and procedures for the SWAT Team and sort of oversee the training that the SWAT Team will be getting," said Albany Police Chief James Younger.

The Albany Dougherty Metro SWAT board will include the seven participating chiefs. Albany Police Chief James Younger was appointed chairman, Dougherty County Police Chief Don Cheek will serve as vice-chairman and now the hard work begins.

 "One of the things that we'll look into as we move forward in this process is to develop a good, solid protocols of how the team's to be utilized, how it's to be called out, how it's activated, one of the things that was discussed this morning is training issues," Cheek said.

Another issue who will command the team, part of the controversy that sparked resignations is Commander Captain Mack Green's inexperience.

"He was on the SWAT Team at one point 20 years ago but he's not SWAT qualified training wise. But I feel confident with him in many capacities, the advisory board however will have to decide whether they want to keep him as the interim commander," says Albany City Manager Alfred Lott.

When we pointed out Green's inexperience was cited as the reason many resigned, Alfred Lott said he didn't want to comment on the past calling it irrelevant. He said those negatives would have an affect on the teams ability to move forward, but then said this.

"I agree with them having been an infantry guy who's had a mission to close in and destroy, you have to be qualified to do the job to give command," Lott said. "Like I said you can't command aviation if you don't know how to fly a helicopter, so in order to command the SWAT Team, that person needs to be somebody who's qualified, competent, and can lead the members."

It will be up to the board to decide if Green is qualified to move from interim commander to commander or if there will be a commander for this new team at all.

Another issue the board will take up at their next meeting on the 27th is dealing with the officers who resigned. Chief Don Cheek said their experience is invaluable and the board is expected to contact each officer and ask if they will consider rejoining SWAT.

Nearly a month ago, Albany Police held tryouts for SWAT to replace its diminished numbers, that process continues despite today's decisions.  Chief James Younger had 30 officers from Albany Police, Dougherty County Schools Police and Albany State University try out for the squad July 18th. Those tryouts were closed to the media.

That list of 30 has been narrowed to 16 officers including four former members of SWAT. The officers are still going through the process of personnel file reviews and psychological evaluations.

Chief Younger didn't have a date for when that team would be finalized.

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