INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) – SWAT teams have been a part of crime fighting for decades. However, IMPD is no longer using a part-time SWAT team, its team has now become full-time.
SWAT teams have specially trained officers who, in addition to their regular assignments, respond immediately to the most dangerous crime scenes.
On March 6, IMPD officers served a warrant at a suspected drug house just south of Fountain Square. They found an armed suspect waiting inside. In this case, the team that moved in was a SWAT team.
“Four of them were shot. But because of their training and expertise, they were able to neutralize the situation and make sure citizens that lived in that area were not affected by that individual,” Troy Riggs, Indianapolis Director of Public Safety, said.
The SWAT team members survived, but the suspect did not. Shortly after this incident, Riggs got a request.
“Chief Hite came to me a few months ago and said he thought it was time for Indianapolis to have a full-time swat team to deal with some of the high crime areas that we have,” Riggs said.
Riggs gave the go ahead.
“It’s up and running. And they’re using them quite frequently throughout the week,” he said.
The SWAT team works the so called “hot spot” areas in the city. As they did this week.
On Tuesday, officers were undercover near Harding and Pruitt Streets just west of downtown. They say after identifying themselves, a suspect faced them with a gun.
Officers shot and wounded the suspect, 18-year old Javon Wilkins. Two of those SWAT officers at the scene were also shot at while serving a warrant at the suspected drug house back in March.
Riggs says full-time SWAT officers are prepared for that kind of encounter in a way that other officers are not.
“Remember, they’re dealing with dangerous felons for the most part that are armed,” Riggs said. “And then if there is a dangerous warrant or a situation arises, they respond to it immediately.”
The full-time SWAT team will have about a dozen members. However, instead of responding only when being called out for extreme emergencies, they will work regularly with the police districts. Specifically, they’ll be looking to target the areas in the city where violent crime occurs most often.