A Closer Look at our Area SWAT Teams

By: Jaclyn Piermarini Email
By: Jaclyn Piermarini Email

May 20, 2014

Command Sergeant Mike Wagner says when you see that SWAT team, you know the situation meets some serious guidelines.

"Are the persons that we are looking for do they have past history of violence against police officers. Are they armed? Are they known to be armed type of people? Is there going to be some type of dynamic entry needed to get into the residence or the building whatever were looking for is it going to be barricaded?"

The SWAT team is obvious a visible sign of what's going on...but what else is going on behind the scenes if you see them?

Often times, hostage negotiation teams are deployed at the exact same time.

"Our goal is to talk someone out to get them to come out without resistance and to get them to come out peacefully as opposed to making a forced entry into a residence."

Are they necessary?

When used in the right context, some experts say yes, but within reason.

John Whitehead of the Rutherford Institute says it’s worth a close look.

“When I talk to swat team commanders they say when its legitimately emergency situations swat teams should be used. Heavily armed people, hostages, or anybody dangerous and armed, sure...."

And when shouldn't they be used?

"The question I face as a lawyer that actually handles these cases is when it’s not an emergency situation should we be going through peoples doors."

Our local SWAT teams are collaboration between Albemarle and Charlottesville police.

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