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Menomonie (WQOW) - A SWAT team merger has been approved by the Menomonie City Council.
Menomonie Police Chief Eric Atkinson says the council approved the agreement Monday night to get rid of their department's nine-man SWAT team and merge with the Eau Claire County Regional SWAT team.
The agreement still needs to be approved by the Eau Claire County Sheriff's Department, which could happen this week.
Menomonie (WQOW) - An agreement for a SWAT team merger is on the table for a local city council.
We first told you about this story back in November. The Menomonie Police chief was proposing eliminating their nine member SWAT team, and joining with Eau Claire County's regional SWAT team. The chief says it would save the department money, and allow them access to a bigger SWAT team with more manpower. The city council will take a look at the agreement at their Monday night meeting, and could possibly vote on it.
Menomonie (WQOW) - A local police department is hoping a merger can help cut costs.
The Menomonie Police Department is looking at joining forces with the Eau Claire County SWAT team.
"In this time, everybody's looking to maximize the most out of their services while reducing costs," says Menomonie Police Chief Eric Atkinson.
Nine of the 27 Menomonie police department officers are on their department's SWAT Team.
In comparison, there are 20-22 members on Eau Claire County's regional SWAT Team, which includes the Eau Claire and Dunn County Sheriff's Departments, the State Patrol, and the Altoona and Fall Creek police departments.
"We've got to look at other people and other departments and bring them together, otherwise resources are not going to allow us to train as much or as often, and then it really puts our people that we put out there in jeopardy," says Eau Claire County Sheriff Ron Cramer
The Menomonie Police Department is feeling the pinch.
"One of the drawbacks of maintaining a full SWAT team here in the city is if we have 9 officers who are on the SWAT team, let's say we do have a SWAT call, maybe two or three of them are actually working patrol at the time, and now all of a sudden we have to find a way to fill our patrol needs during that particular shift or that incident because calls to service are still rolling in at that time and it really depletes our service," says Atkinson.
Now, the department is looking at joining forces with Eau Claire County's regional SWAT Team.
"They have a variety of things that would be entirely expensive for the City of Menomonie to go out and purchase, so really we broaden the amount of persons that are available to come and help us, plus it also expands upon the types of equipment and resources that we have available to the City of Menomonie," Chief Atkinson says.
"That's really the beauty of it I think for all the departments that are members, that they're not shouldering all of these costs by themselves, it's collectively we're working together in order to reduce the amount of costs for the training and deployment," says Sheriff Cramer.
Chief Atkinson says there shouldn't be a concern about response time.
"We have officers that live outside of the City of Menomonie, so of course when we do call our officers in to respond, there's always a response time as well for coming on in, so I do not see any particular delays in bringing in the resources to this area," Chief Atkinson says.
Chief Atkinson says a mutual assistance agreement needs to be written up, and approved by the city council. He's hoping to have the merger in place by the beginning of next year.
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