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Who Goes on SWAT Call-outs?

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

McHenry County, Illinois Emergency Services Vehicles

Who Goes on SWAT Call-outs?

Gus Philpott
Woodstock Advocate
October 27, 2008

McHenry County MARV

When the SWAT (Special Weapons And Tactics) team is called out, you know it's serious. These are the guys who can show up with MARV, machine guns, armor-piercing bullets, etc. You know - the heavy-weight stuff. The "fun" stuff, some would say. Who's MARV? That's MARV, just to the right.

And when the team rolls, who is on the team? Only the qualified, certified, trained, experienced SWAT members. Right? Really?

Rumor has it that certain Corrections (that's "jail" to you and me) officers are allowed to accompany the SWAT team. So, apparently, someone who works in the jail and who is not a certified law enforcement officer (not a "deputy") and who perhaps hasn't even qualified with a firearm at Department minimums gets to go along.

If this rumor is true, why would the Sheriff, the Law & Justice Committee, and the County Board approve the risk involved?

It seems to me that there is tremendous financial exposure and risk to McHenry County, if this is the case. What if a corrections officer is hurt while participating in an activity for which he has not been trained?

What if a corrections officer causes some harm to another person while on a SWAT call-out? How many tens (or hundreds) of thousands of dollars will pour out of the County coffers to defend the County and then to pay off the person(s) harmed?

The dividing line between SWAT-qualified and not qualified shouldn't be in the sand. It should be painted with a wide, solid, black line right across the hallway ion front of the door to the SWAT shed. If you are not SWAT-certified, Keep Out!

And this should apply to anyone on the SWAT team who isn't certified and currently qualified. Period.

So, are all the rules of "good business" being followed at McHenry County Sheriff's Department?

Is the rumor true, or is it just a rumor?

Is everyone on the SWAT team certified? Everyone?

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