In 2008, we initiated an Emergency Response Team primarily to respond to situations that the Patrol Deputy does not regularly train to handle. Corporal Roger Purvis was named the team commander.
The training is rigorous and requires lots of hours. A position on the team is not given it is earned. The team is an elite paramilitary tactical unit. They are trained to perform high-risk operations that fall outside of the abilities of regular officers. Their duties include performing hostage rescues, serving high risk arrest and search warrants, subduing barricaded suspects, and engaging heavily-armed criminals.
A SWAT team is often equipped with specialized firearms including submachine guns, assault rifles, breaching shotguns, riot control agents, stun grenades and sniper rifles. They have specialized equipment including heavy body armor, ballistic shields, entry tools, advanced night vision optics, and motion detectors for covertly determining the positions of hostages or hostage takers inside of an enclosed structure.
Since its inception, we have performed high risk search warrants accompanied by the F.B.I., arrested a fugitive wanted out of California, and the most current was the barricaded suspect that had a seven page criminal history including murder in Florida. The team made entry at a duplex apartment near the airport and arrested the suspect without incident within seven minutes after making entry.
© 2017 Berrien County Georgia Sheriff's Office