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SWAT Team Asks Canon-McMillan School Board for Support

The special police unit asked for support as it seeks share of gaming revenue to pay for equipment.

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.

notsurprised September 12, 2012 at 12:48 PM
"Daniels says it's good to have a working relationship with the special tactical team in case of emergencies." So if they say no, the SWAT Team won't respond to an emergency? This sounds like blackmail to me. It is ridiculous that the police force of Washington County would ask the public schools for money for the purpose of militarizing. They literally are asking for money that was slated to go to our public schools for the purpose of educating our children. Did they ask all of the Catholic and private schools in Washington County for money? If I was a police officer in Washington County I would be embarrassed by this.
Joe Zupancic September 12, 2012 at 08:06 PM
Dear Mr. Notsurprised: Detective Bruner was at the meeting asking for a letter of support, not for money. They are using letters of support from different organizations to bolster their application for funds from the Local Share Board. No school district money is being allocated to the SWAT team.
notsurprised September 12, 2012 at 08:20 PM
...and that's what I get for reading too quickly...That being said, doesn't Daniels have anything more educationally focused to spend his time on, besides the local SWAT team...I mean, come on, we do get on here to complain right!
Amanda Gillooly September 12, 2012 at 09:52 PM
Mr. Zupancic - thank you for the clarification.

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