Five officers from three Davis County cities have joined forces with Layton City's SWAT team, creating a 22-officer team designed to respond to situations that exceed the capabilities of a regular police patrol.
Before the multi-city agreement, Clearfield, Clinton and Syracuse have relied on the Davis County Sheriff's Office special weapons and tactics team when incidents happened in their cities. This was somewhat problematic for the northern Davis County towns because the Farmington-based sheriff's office team was farther away from the situation than Layton's SWAT team.
"We always tried to get who was closest," said Clinton City Police Chief Bill Chilson. "Fortunately, our SWAT call-outs have been few and far between."
Chilson said his city contributed two officers to the new multi-city SWAT team. The cost to add SWAT services to the city was fairly minimal, but specialized vests and other equipment were needed for the officers. He said those costs were not any more than a regular patrol officer's within the city.
The multi-city team officially formed after each individual city council passed a motion in June. Since then, the new officers have already been implemented into the team and are attending trainings.
Layton Police Chief Terry Keefe said the decision to combine resources made sense for the three neighboring cities.
"They are smaller cities than we are," he said. "It would be economically unviable to form a functioning SWAT team. It made sense for them to come to a larger city and ask to participate. It's an economic necessity."
Chilson said the decision was the right fit for Clinton because it would be impossible for the small police force to provide its own specialized SWAT services.
"The big problem is, I myself have 16 police officers," Chilson said. "To have a SWAT team that does nothing but SWAT would take all my manpower."Layton's SWAT team has served the city for more than 20 years, Keefe said. He said the new additions to the team are provided with no extra cost to the existing SWAT budget.
Layton City Police Sgt. James Petre, who is over the SWAT team, said that besides a few kinks that were ironed out initially regarding who would provide what resources, the added manpower has had nothing but positive effects for the existing team.
"It's nothing more than we'd have with new team members," Petre said. "You have a learning process that takes place, but we've been able to integrate them pretty well."