Budget incentives propels move to consolidate Fontana, Colton, Rialto SWAT teams

The Article below is from the San Bernardino Sun highlighting our regional SWAT team.

It’s a great cost saving feature as well as allowing the team to utilize the resources that the three cities have accumulated.

I personally cant wait to see this team at community events in the city and hear of them helping local gang units hit warrant homes and rid us of idiots that want to baricaide themselves.

Inland Valley SWAT.

It’s the new face for the elite, Special Weapons and Tactics arm of three area police departments: Fontana, Colton and Rialto.

Each department will contribute its SWAT officers to the combined unit, now headed by Fontana police Lt. Obie Rodriguez, although that post will rotate to the other agencies in the future.

Equipment for the combined force of 45 is being stored at a central, undisclosed location.

This was a decision that wasn’t taken lightly and didn’t happen quickly, Rodriguez said.

For more the two years, the departments have been conducing joint training operations.

Cooperative arrangements like the SWAT team merger will be the wave of the future in law enforcement, said Larry K. Gaines, chairman of the Criminal Justice Department at Cal State San Bernardino.

“It’s a way to maintain high level of service and at the same time reduce costs,” he said.

The SWAT merger is not the first combined effort by the three police departments. Earlier this year, Rialto and Colton hooked up with Fontana’s new police helicopter, expanding that city’s sky patrol into their own backyards.

“I’ve often said that crooks don’t know a border,” said Fontana Police Chief Rod Jones.

Fontana’s public safety is interconnected with its neighbors, he said.

“Certainly the economic times are a driving force of this (the cooperative efforts),” said Rialto Police Chief Tony Farrar.

The merger provides the three cities with greater expertise, better equipment at a reduced cost, said Farrar and Jones.

Additionally, there is a greater opportunity for grant funding when there’s a regional effort, Farrar said.

“This (the SWAT merger) was discussed some time ago, but the timing wasn’t right. This is really a longtime overdue,” Farrar said.

For smaller departments, like the three cities have, the SWAT position is collateral – officers assigned to it perform other duties and only take on their SWAT role in emergencies or during training, Rodriguez said.

Under the joint arrangement, each department is reducing its individual SWAT officer force, he said, noting that the three cities benefit from the potential strength of the much larger 45 person team.

In 2000, Murrieta and Hemet joined forces for a new combined SWAT team, said Murrieta police Lt. Tony Conrad.

“Savings are are realized in both training costs and personnel costs. Equipment costs can also be cut as the teams utilize equipment owned and maintained by their partner team,” Conrad said.

“As police departments look at more innovative ways of working, there are some elements which will not work in this kind of cooperative agreement,” said Stephen G. Tibbetts, a criminology professor at Cal State San Bernardino.

SWAT teams work because their training is very standardized, he said. “It doesn’t depend on local knowledge.”


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