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Lake County, Ohio - Sheriff's Office

SWAT

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    SPECIAL WEAPONS AND TACTICS

    The Lake County Sheriff’s Office SWAT Team was formed in the 1970’s and was the first to exist in Ohio.  It employs sophisticated equipment and maintains a rigorous training schedule on negotiations techniques, chemical agent deployment, tactical paramedic training, long-rifle shooting, less then lethal weaponry, and covert building searches. The Lake County Sheriff’s Office SWAT Team maintains the ability to respond to high risk incidents at any hour of the day or night, regardless of weather. The unit is on a 24-hour call-out basis at all times.

    The SWAT team is generally activated to respond to situations that are deemed high risk and/or require specialized training, expertise and equipment.   The SWAT Team is committed to the safe resolution of all critical incidents and approaches each situation in a professional and controlled manner, with an emphasis on a negotiated resolution. 

    The primary functions served by the team include: 

    • High-Risk search and arrest warrants
    • Barricaded subjects
    • Hostage taking incidents 
    • Suicidal individuals 
    • Riot/civil disturbances
    • Officer rescue
    • Surveillance operations
    • Dignitary protection/ VIP visit

      Incidents involving barricaded subjects, hostage takers, or persons threatening suicide represent especially trying and stressful moments for law enforcement personnel who respond to them. Officers first responding to the scene must quickly assess  the totality of the situation, secure the area, gauge the threat to hostages or bystanders, and request additional units as appropriate. Crisis negotiators must establish contact with subjects, identify their demands, and work to resolve tense and often  volatile standoffs without loss of life. Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) teams must prepare to neutralize subjects through swift tactical means.   Although it might appear that negotiators and tactical teams work at cross-purposes during a crisis, nothing could be further from the truth. Society requires that law enforcement exhausts all means available prior to launching a tactical resolution to an incident. If these means prove unsuccessful, then the transition from negotiation to tactical assault must be a smooth one.

            SWAT is made up of highly skilled officers, each of whom can assume varied responsibilities with a high degree of expertise and proficiency. The unit is prepared to assume full control of specific tactical situations which, by nature, would be considered excessively dangerous and complex, or which would require the use of a specialized team effort rather than independent action by individual officers. Practically speaking, the unit is organized as a crisis intervention team with both negotiation and assault capabilities.  Negotiations initiated by the unit employ modern psychology and negotiation techniques. Stress, logical reasoning, time, utility control, barter and other concepts, tools and devices might be used to ease a crisis.  Assault tactics employed by the unit reflect police strategy of handling and dealing with situations involving confrontations with potentially dangerous suspects. The concept of "apprehension of the suspect" is accomplished through the primary discipline of approaching each situation as a "life saving mission".

    Since 1993 the Lake County Sheriff's SWAT Team has been involved in over 150 assignments (missions).