What leads to the Red River SWAT Team getting called in?

The Red River Valley SWAT team has had a busy week responding to its third call in six days related to warrants leading to peaceful arrests.

FARGO, N.D. (KVRR) – The SWAT team is made up of police officers from seven agencies around the region teaming up with special tactics, knowledge and weapons in order to make the community feel safe.

They use what’s called a risk assessment matrix from the National Tactical Officers Association to determine when SWAT should be used.

“It’s not just something we’ve come up with, it’s something that’s put out by a national organization that oversees SWAT tactics and laws that apply to SWAT teams usage and they set national standards that we look at to follow,” says Lt. Bill Ahlfeldt, a member of the Red River Valley SWAT Team.

He adds the SWAT team should hold themselves to a higher standard and be used as a tool with responsibilities like special tactics and weapons.

“We say ‘ok this is a little more dangerous’ for police officers that don’t have special tools, special tactics, special vehicles to just drive up and try to take care of it. We determine safety based on all the factors. If we reach a certain level, we’ll call that a high risk situation ,a high risk incident and we’ll use the team accordingly,” Ahlfeldt says.

People are wondering why the SWAT team are being called on so often even in cases where suspects are unarmed.

“We have had three call outs in a very short period of time. That’s just how it goes sometimes and I’ve been on the SWAT team for almost 20 years and it seems like you have periods where it’s just busier than others. This isn’t something that we take lightly, it isn’t something that we say, ‘We’re gonna use the SWAT team for every single thing’, you really have to meet that certain level on our risk assessment matrix. There’d have to be many factors that say this is high risk and it might be unsafe to do this in another way that we’d usually do it. Using officers in different groups and units to bring in those specialized tactics, to make it safer.” said Ahlfeldt.

No injuries in the three search warrant cases involving the SWAT team this past week.

Citizens are wondering if police departments offer alternatives to de-escalate situations before resorting to the SWAT team.

Categories: Crime, Local News, North Dakota News