LIMA — The Allen County Sheriff’s Office and Lima Police Department are — pending approval by Lima City Council — joining forces in the operation and funding of a single Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) team.
Council will be asked to approve the arrangement at its next meeting later this month.
The announcement was made Thursday by Allen County Sheriff Matt Treglia and Lima Police Chief Kevin Martin. Both law enforcement officials said the joint operation is an extension of existing cooperation between the two departments and will result in what Martin termed “incredible cost savings” to both agencies.
“For may years the sheriff’s department and the Lima Police Department maintained separate SWAT teams and that, quite frankly, is expensive,” Martin said. “We know the services are needed — a SWAT team is a very vital part of the service we provide to the community. By combining them, as we have with other efforts, I believe we’ll not only be able to be more cost-effective, but more effective in terms of the service we are able to provide to the entire community.
“The bottom line: It’s giving the public the best possible service without an unnecessary duplication of services,” the police chief said.
“It seemed senseless for us each to be operating our own teams,” Treglia added.
The joint SWAT team will remain under the jurisdiction and leadership of the sheriff’s office, with Lt. Gary Hook continuing to serve as commander.
“That’s not an ego thing; it’s a matter of practicality,” said Martin. The Lima Police Department will contribute four members to the joint SWAT team while the sheriff’s office will have 12 members on the team. Treglia said it remains “up in the air” about what future staffing levels will look like.
“This is huge for both departments,” the sheriff said. “It will help us keep costs down while providing better service for the community.
Martin said the new combined tactical team will prove crucial during high-risk warrant service situations, hostage situations and other specialized incidents. “This allows us a more effective way to ensure we have those services available without breaking either department’s budget,” Martin said.
The city and county have previously teamed up on such special need endeavors that include a hostage negotiation team and bomb squad comprised of members from both departments.