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Macomb County

January 9, 2013

Metro Macomb SWAT awaits final approvals

By Brian Louwers
C & G Staff Writer

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Special Response Team members from Warren and Sterling Heights trained together at Universal Mall in September. Police said regular training with combined personnel and equipment was the driving motivator behind the formation of Metro Macomb SWAT.

WARREN — They’re normally members of independent teams, ready to do what’s necessary to keep their cities safe.

But some of the most highly trained cops in southern Macomb County could soon be training together regularly, so they’ll be ready to work as a clutch and cohesive unit capable of responding decisively to a wider crisis.

The combined team, Metro Macomb SWAT, will involve specially trained tactical personnel from seven communities: Warren, Center Line, Sterling Heights, St. Clair Shores, Roseville, Eastpointe and Clinton Township.

“We’re basically seven teams that continue to have our own autonomy,” said Sgt. Brendan Brosnan of the Warren Police Department, the department’s emergency manager.

Brosnan said mutual aid agreements would, however, allow for a broader response, if needed, involving personnel from the other participating communities.

What’s more, members of the combined Metro Macomb SWAT team would share training and equipment, have the same gear and be familiar with the resources of the other teams to ensure a quick, seamless response in the event of a crisis.

With the government’s emphasis on cost savings through collaboration these days, Brosnan said he envisions building closer operational relationships with other teams in Oakland and Wayne counties.

Brosnan said Metro Macomb SWAT has already secured a $100,000 grant through the Southeast Michigan Unban Area Security Initiative, backed by the Department of Homeland Security.

“Each (local) team will receive about $950 per member for equipment,” Brosnan said.

Sgt. Bill Wilke, leader of the Warren Police Special Response Team, said the emphasis is on proper training and equipment.

“It’s much, much needed equipment. That’s the key to it all,” Wilke said. “It’s to strengthen the response to any large incident that would overwhelm a single municipality.”

What’s also important, Wilke said, is that team members would take the training and equipment they receive through the combined group back to their own municipalities, where tactical personnel are routinely deployed to critical incidents, ranging from high-risk warrant arrests and searches, to barricaded gunmen and active-shooter situations. 

Brosnan said work on Metro Macomb SWAT began last February, and the UASI grant was secured in late summer.

He said final approval of mutual-aid agreements between participating communities would be sought in 2013 and that it would require the approval of the local legislative bodies, including the Warren and Center Line city councils.

Macomb County SWAT is a separate entity comprised of personnel from several local jurisdictions, the Macomb County Sheriff’s Office and Medstar Ambulance.

You can reach C & G Staff Writer Brian Louwers at brianlouwers@candgnews.com or at (586)498-1089.