South Strabane Township Police Det. John Bruner serves as a negotiations leader for the Washington Regional SWAT Team.
He also served as its spokesman Monday night when he asked the School Board for a show of support in its bid to gain a share of gaming revenue to pay for life-saving equipment.
The SWAT team is composed of police officers and specialists from several local forces that help fund the tactical unit.
But Bruner said budgets are tight, and vital gear such as new bulletproof vests are expensive. The detective said the Kevlar vests have a shelf life of only five years and that it will take nearly $100,000 to replace Washington SWAT's supply.
Acting Superintendent Michael Daniels drafted a letter of support for the Washington Regional SWAT Team that read, "They save lives while risking their own."
He added there have been several incidents in the past year involving the SWAT Team that have either occurred near Canon-Mac schools or could have potentially affected school bus routes.
Daniels says it's good to have a working relationship with the special tactical team in case of emergencies.
Bruner told the board the team has managed to raise nearly $50,000 from corporate sponsors throughout the community.
SWAT hopes to add to that by requesting funds from the county's local share of gaming revenue. The application deadline for disbursements from that fund is Oct. 17.
Bruner said he's looking for letters of support from local agencies to help during their presentation before the local share board.
"We believe Washington County is turning into the energy capital of the east. We're increasing in terms of corporate and retail footprint," Bruner said. "Our population is increasing. We believe that the foundation of all of that needs to be adequate safety. The area is experiencing a financial boom, so we need a boom, too."
The board is expected to act on the letter of support by way of resolution at its voting meeting Monday.