When someone barricades themself inside a home, or when its time to execute a high-risk search or arrest warrant, the Jamestown Police Department calls in its highly trained and equipped SWAT Team.
And although the men on the team have the basic necessities, such as weapons and protective gear, without a specific budget of their own, there is rarely extra money to purchase tools that would make the job easier.
But thanks to a recent donation by Todd Saracki of Carlton Homes Construction, the SWAT Team now has an extra set of hands inside potentially dangerous houses as forced entry just got a little easier.
At left, Lt. Harry Snellings, commander of the Jamestown Police Department’s SWAT Team, holds a dynamic entry backpack kit with Todd Saracki of Carlton Homes Construction. At right is Captain Barry Swanson.
P-J photo by Robert Rizzuto
Saracki, a longtime friend of SWAT officer Brandon Maggio, helped the team purchase a dynamic entry backpack kit.
The SWAT Team's commander, Lt. Harry Snellings, explained that the new tools can and already have made a difference when entering and proceeding through a home.
"The tools free up an extra man on the inside and that is beneficial to the whole team," he said. "The person with the battering ram usually stands to the side of the entry way after opening the door. But many times, there are additional doors on the inside of the house that must be breached too. With the tool kit on his back, we can incorporate him into the line and anyone of us can easily grab an entry tool from the backpack and use it to get through a door."
In essence, the pack, which costs more than $600, allows the man typically breaching the interior doors to have his hands on a weapon, rather than a bulky ramming tool while standing outside.
"On the average, we are called out between 20 and 22 times per year and every situation is different," Snellings said. "We've already used these tools two times since we bought them and they worked as intended."
Saracki said that he was happy to donate to the SWAT Team, because through his friendship with Maggio, he understands the stressful and often crazy things officers must deal with when responding to a call.
"I'm glad that I was in a position to be able to help them out," Saracki said. "They go through a lot and I give them a ton of credit. And if I could help them get something that would make their job a little easier and safer, I'm more than happy to do it."
Capt. Barry Swanson said that donations like this make a huge difference in daily operations.
"In these trying financial times it is always great when a local business person wants to give back to the department," Swanson said. "Our SWAT Team is a specially trained unit and they go to the most violent and dangerous calls. There is truly a threat behind every door. These tools put an extra officer at the hands of the commander and that is a huge asset. On behalf of the whole department, I want to say thank you to Mr. Saracki and Carlton Homes for the assistance."
Carlton Homes is a local construction business that specializes in new-home construction in New York and Pennsylvania.
For more information about Carlton Homes, visit www.carltonhomes.net.