The 18-member Northern Regional SWAT team has played a role in several high-profile incidents since its inception in June. The team was formed with a modest $30,000 in start-up money.
There are probably more diplomatic ways to explain why six law enforcement chiefs in northern Wood County created their own multiagency SWAT team last year.
But to Lake Township Police Chief Mark Hummer, there’s no sense tap-dancing around the truth.
“Insanity knows no jurisdictional bounds,” he said.
Normally sedate Perrysburg Township, Lake Township, Northwood, Walbridge, Owens Community College, and CSX Transportation Corp. last year formed an 18-member, cooperative SWAT team.
It didn’t take long for it to be deployed.
Within weeks after being activated in June, the special weapons and tactics team helped the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration execute a high-risk narcotics search warrant on Bates Road in Perrysburg Township on July 12. Ten days later, on July 22, it assisted with a homicide investigation in Perrysburg Heights at a home near Broad and Harold streets. Then, on Oct. 16, it worked a case in Lake Township in which a gunman shot multiple victims.
In its initial annual report, recently presented to police chiefs who comprise its board of directors, the Northern Regional SWAT team said it met key objectives and will stay in effect.
The report, written by the team’s co-commanders, Joe Ball of Perrysburg Township and Scott Sims of Lake Township, said the cooperative effort has improved security. Officer Ball said response times have been cut in half for some outlying areas.
“We do believe we have the cream of the crop, the very best officers,” Officer Ball said.
The team was formed with a modest $30,000 in startup money, derived from seized drug money. Each agency pays $1,000 per officer each year, which generated an additional $18,000. The money goes for body armor and surplus military equipment, such as a truck that’s being refurbished. The team wants to take its training to a higher level this year by working more with other area SWAT teams, Officer Ball said
It’ll get an opportunity to do that May 20 to 24 when 600 SWAT officers from Ohio, Michigan, and Indiana meet at the Holiday Inn French Quarter for the annual Ohio Tactical Officers Association training conference. Officer Ball said training will occur in Toledo, Maumee, Sylvania, and at the Owens Community College Center for Emergency Preparedness.
The Northern Regional SWAT team played a role in the apprehension of Jose Moya, Jr., 23, of Toledo, who was charged with the July 22 slaying of Leandra Frankum, 21, of Perrysburg Township at a relative’s home in Perrysburg Heights.
It also helped take down Jorge Duran, 24, of Toledo, at Eastpointe on the Mall on Oct. 16. His estranged girlfriend, Amber Jones, 26, was shot to death in her Lakepointe Drive apartment. Her 3-year-old son, Jorge Duran III, died moments later after Duran removed the child and took him to a nearby apartment on Laketon Terrace, where Duran shot three adults who lived there and fatally wounded the toddler. Duran was shot to death by officers.
“They’ve come a long way in a short six months,” said Chief Hummer, a board member. “Hopefully, we can continue to grow the team as a response team.”
Two of last year’s highest-profile rampages nationally, the shootings in Newton, Conn., and Aurora, Colo., served as a reminder that no area is immune from violent crime.
“Current events have shown us this isn’t just an urban problem; it can happen anywhere,” Chief Hummer said. “We can’t sit on our hands and wait for a large agency to bail us out.”
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