East Aurora Could Start Joint SWAT Team

9:22 PM, Mar 25, 2013   |    comments
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Soon, the quiet streets of East Aurora could be protected by three highly trained SWAT officers. They would join Orchard Park's SWAT team through a state grant.

The police chiefs of both communities say there is a need for these highly trained law enforcement officers where they live, but neighbors we spoke with don't see that need.
"I don't think it's needed here. I don't think that there's a lot of crazy people running around East Aurora," said one woman.

"The town doesn't have a lot of hooligans running around, and you know, the parents are very involved with their kids here, and I wouldn't feel any safer with a SWAT team," said another mother we spoke with Monday.

East Aurora Police Chief Ron Krowka, who agreed to be interviewed only over the phone, says the idea of training three SWAT members in his department intrigued him.

"If you mention SWAT and East Aurora, of course, those two words don't go together," says Krowka.

Chief Krowka told us that Orchard Park's police chief recently approached him about forming a joint SWAT team saying a state grant could cover the costs. The proposal involves training three East Aurora officers who would join Orchard Park's ten SWAT officers and four support staff members.

Krowka says since violent crimes can happen anywhere, the need for a SWAT team in East Aurora is there.

"If you look around in the past violent acts that occurred, they usually weren't in inner cities and, you know, urban areas," says Krowka.

He adds that having SWAT members living in East Aurora would help cut response times. And, both Krowka and Orchard Park's police chief agree it helps when officers are familiar with the people and places they serve.

"You know how John Smith has acted before. You know what his typical behavior is, so it's not always predictive of what his future behavior will be, but you have a past history. That's huge having residential knowledge. That's something you can't put a price on," says Orchard Park Police Chief Mark Pacholec.

The Orchard Park SWAT team also helps other agencies in the county respond to emergency calls throughout the year.

The deadline to apply for that state grant is April 10. Chief Krowka says the East Aurora village board should vote on whether to move forward with the plan to train SWAT team members at its April first meeting, so it can meet that deadline if the board approves everything.

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