Full SWAT team operations in the Town of Tonawanda have been suspended as of this past Wednesday.
The department’s SWAT team has been in place for 30 years, answering high risk calls in the town and outside of it when necessary.
As of now, the SWAT team is a part-time team made up of patrol officers, detectives and staff officers.
“Full team call-outs do occur from time to time, but typical responses requiring SWAT officers are often handled at the lowest level with the available SWAT members working in order to resolve the incident,” Town of Tonawanda Police Lt. Thomas Haynes says. “Therefore, many of the SWAT type calls are handled with the partial team of tactical officers that are currently working.”
The police department intends to continue handling SWAT-type calls that way unless a full tactical team is required.
Right now, there is not enough manpower to constitute a full SWAT team following the DWI-related arrest of Lt. Corey Flatau in December and the crash-related suspension and investigation of Ofc. Howard Scholl III.
Lt. Haynes says the department will be reconstituting the full team in the coming year when they can reach minimum manpower standards.