The Edmonds Police Department has combined forces with five other departments in Snohomish and King counties to create a new North Sound Metro SWAT team.
According to Jim Lawless, Edmonds' assistant chief of police, field sevices, the agreement has been approved by all departments, which in addition to Edmonds includes Mountlake Terrace, Lynnwood, Monroe, Bothell and Lake Forest Park.
The original South Snohomish County Swat Team consisted of Edmonds, Lynnwood, and Mountlake Terrace. The existing team was expanded to include Bothell, Monroe, and Lake Forest Park.
"The team is still not completely integrated, but still able to respond to situations as needed," said Lawless. Full integration is anticipated for the early spring.
Commander Steve Rider from the Lynnwood Police Department is the team commander, and Lawless is the assistant team commander. They report to the chiefs of the participating agencies, who have final oversight and approval of operations.
The SWAT (Special Weapons and Tactics) team is called into action for high-risk situations where specialized training, tactics and equipment are required for situations such as high-risk warrant service, hostages, and where suspects may have barricaded themselves inside a house, for example.
"Teams of this nature are a necessity for the safety of the public and the officers involved," said Lawless. "This new combined team is the result of the cooperative efforts of all the involved agencies in an effort to continue to best serve all of our citizens in these very difficult economic times."