SWAT activations: Will we see more as officers serve more warrants?

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – APD’s Tactical Division has had a busy year. There has been 53 callouts so far this year, compared to 29 at this same time last year.

“Tactical activations are purely reactive, we’re reacting to events emerging within our community, and responding to the requests of Field Services, personnel and detectives,” said Deputy Commander Ken Willey, who leads APD’s Tactical Division.

It’s responsible for responding to incidents involving someone barricaded inside a home, or other dangerous emergency situations, often involving people with violent felony warrants.

“We have the tools, tactics, training and resources to isolate, and contain those situations so that field officers and detectives can further their goals for public safety and crime prevention,” said Willey.

The division has four teams: Special Weapons and Tactics, the K-9 Unit, Bomb Squad, and the Crisis Negotiations Team.

Willey says so far, the division’s stats are looking good for this year.

“Approximately 50% have been resolved without the use of force, the other 50% have been resolved by using less lethal tools. And none of those have been resolved through lethal force,” he said.

Bernalillo County now has $5 million in state money to use to help the clear the current warrant backlog. It will help pay for officer overtime.

“As far as the efforts for from the state and from the city for clearing that word backlog, it may result in an increase. Largely, our response is driven by the actions of the offender,” said Willey.

So while the division might be more active, they’re only working toward a safer community.

“We’re doing as much as we can to support other units with an agency and support our community the best way we can. And that’s the results you’re seeing is this increased activity,” said Willey.