By Charles Boothe Bluefield Daily Telegraph
Bluefield, W.Va. — The Bluefield Police Department now has a SWAT (Special Weapons and Tactics) unit, trained to handle high-risk situations.
Bluefield Police Chief Dennis Dillow told members of the City Board early last week the 10 officers in the team have now been trained and it’s the first time one has been available in many years.
“When we serve high-risk warrants in the community or we have an incident that takes place where someone is armed and we have to go and collect those people, it helps to have a team that is trained to do that for the safety of us and for the safety of you,” Dillow said. “So we formed a SWAT team.”
Dillow said the county at one point had a SWAT team made up of officers from different agencies, but with people coming and going and different leadership the team “disbanded years ago.”
“I felt the need to have this back in place,” he said. “These guys go through some strenuous training, a lot of shooting training, a lot of entry training, to make sure it is as safe as possible for them and for everyone that is around.” …
On Aug. 1, 1966, in Austin, Texas, an honor student, Charles Joseph Whitman, used a high-powered rifle to kill over a dozen people and wounded more than 30 from the University of Texas Clock Tower Building in Austin. This incident is known as the Texas Tower Sniper.
Whitman also had killed his mother and his wife before going to the tower and killing a maintenance worker as he ascended the tower.
The police response showed that law enforcement at that time had no plans in place to handle such an incident.
After that, the Los Angeles Police Department was the first agency to form a SWAT team.
Contact Charles Boothe at [email protected]