Agencies aim to create regional SWAT Team

Cedar Park, Georgetown and Leander police want to create a Central Texas Regional SWAT Team. It will allow the smaller departments to combine resources and never show up shorthanded to critical incidents.

On Thursday night, the Cedar Park City Council approved the police department's participation. Now the other two cities must grant approval.

Lt. Chase Thomas says he realized the need for a team effort while on a SWAT call in 2013. During that incident he says a suicidal suspect fired shots at officers. Without an armored truck, officers could not get as close as needed to resolve the situation.

"We had great fear that officers were in danger and the public," said Lt. Thomas. "It makes you realize how important having that capability is. Fortunately, we were able to call Williamson County."

While other jurisdictions are willing to help, response time can vary from 45 minutes to two hours.

Cedar Park currently has seven trained SWAT officers. Lt. Thomas feels the number isn't sufficient.

Last year the department begin training with Georgetown and Leander SWAT teams. They aim to form a combined team called the Central Texas Regional SWAT Team.

Should an incident occur in one of the cities, all SWAT trained officers would respond. That would triple the number of officers on a scene.

"It puts us where we need to be quite frankly," said Lt. Thomas. "We owe it to our citizens to be ready to quickly save lives."

The Leander City Council will take on the issue next week.