ALBANY, GA (WALB) - When police call in SWAT teams, the officers often have to make split second decisions with lives on the line. In Dougherty County, legal decisions can be handled quickly because one of the team members is the chief assistant district attorney.
Dougherty Chief Assistant D.A. Matt Breedon trains to handle a gun the way SWAT team members do.
It's not just target practice for Breedon. He is the team's legal liaison, but he trains and works the same practices as the rest of the SWAT team.
"I think it's very important to come out here and work with them and see what they do first hand as much as possible," Breedon said. "Integrate with them. So when it's necessary that it's not having somebody who is not associated with the team. Somebody coming in from the outside. But somebody who understands the individuals and what they have to go through."
SWAT teams often go into situations to remove danger. Breedon is there with the command staff to make sure all the legal issues are handled.
"He gives us legal information as far as go or not. He also goes as far as evidence presentation to make sure when we do secure a scene, all the evidence is at our fingertips is done in the proper manner. So it can be used in a court of law," said SWAT Commander Tim Hanington.
"We're on the scene and there is some issue, about what is the validity of going into the house. What do we need from here on out to protect ourselves legally. And protect the case in the future," Breedon said.
Breedon is not satisfied to just give advice from the court room. He cannot take part in SWAT operations because by law he cannot be POST certified, but he does all the physical training with the team anyway.
"Matt has really been a superstar in my book. Taking time off from his busy schedule he has, and become our legal liaison," Hanington said."I'm honored to work with everyone of them. It's something that they do extra on top of their duties. They put themselves in harm's way everyday in their job. But more so out here and in the situations that SWAT is called to."
Breedon says all the firearms and police training makes him even more proud to be a member of Albany's SWAT team, and help them protect the community.
Like all the SWAT police officers, Breedon receives no extra pay for the work. He is on call 24 - 7, when needed.