SWAT raids common in Prince George County Maryland; 195 tactical entries in six months.

Heavily armed tactical police in Prince George's County raid more…

Heavily armed tactical police in Prince George’s County raid more homes than any other law enforcement agency in the state, according to newly released data from the Governor’s Office of Crime Control and Prevention.

In the last six months of 2009, police there conducted 195 tactical entries, 105 involving crime deemed nonserious felonies and misdemeanors. That’s compared with 84 such raids in Baltimore (at left, a scene from a barricade in East Baltimore in 2007) over the same time period, 63 in Baltimore County, 16 in Harford, 22 in Carroll and 27 in Howard.

Lawmakers in Annapolis required police accross Maryland to submit the data after a mayor of Berwyn Heights was hancuffed by sheriffs deputies who burst into his home with automatic weapons and shot his two dogs. Drug dealers had sent packages of marijuana to unsuspecting homeowners and waited until postal carriers left them on front porches, with the hopes of intercepting them before the owners came home. Police had intercepted the package sent to Mayor Cheye Calvo’s house and suspected he was the actual recipient. He was cleared of any wrongdoing.

But police agencies steadfastly stood by their tactics. Calvo has sued Prince George’s County, arguing that police there routinely use SWAT team tactics on even the most routine of raids, and that the raid on his house could’ve been avoided with a little prior investigation. Calvo told me he believes the numbers given to the state back his claim.

Read the rest of Peter Hermann’s story at The Baltimore Sun.

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  • Art Lamb

    Tactical is the rage and it is so macho to do, but it is not warranted in most operations. Using surveillance is a better way to determine what is happening. We do not need anymore Ruby Ridges or Waco incidents in this country. After 911 the police have gotten carried away with their operations and lost sight of how they always worked within the neighborhoods. I don’t blame the SWAT teams but the administrators that oversee their operations. There is more need for control and SOPs governing their usage.

  • Alistair

    Sorry, but the gung-ho comments posted here are ridiculous. The ONLY legitimate reason to effect a tactical entry is if there is an immediate threat to life which cannot be prevented by other means. End of story.

    Clearly in this case there was no threat to life. A packet of grass left on a porch, whoever it may or may not have belonged to, is manifestly NOT justification for this approach, which quite clearly constitutes grossly disproportionate force. In this case there was nothing to stop the officers involved staking out the house until the suspect emerged and then lifting him, or indeed surrounding the house and inviting him to surrender.

    As for the comment “The thing is that there are so many crazy bad guys out here that we don’t know who is who. So we have to treat everyone the same” which was supposedly posted by a Sheriff; I simply don’t believe that this was really posted by a law enforcement officer. Has he heard of presumption of innocence, or indeed of minimum force. If it really was written by a LE officer, he should hand in his badge and forgo his Second Amendment rights immediately, as he is positively off his trolley and far more of a danger than any nutter with a pistol.

    The victim of this assault should sue for every penny he can get. Perhaps that will stop this sort of abuse happening in the future.

  • TAC

    Nick, Please! Law enforcement is at its heart Para-Military. Rank structure, tactics and weapons. We MUST treat every call, warant or situation the same. Officer safety is the most important element, then public safety. Shock & awe is the point on a raid. You have to own the situation and not allow the person time to react by use of weapons or by flushing drugs or escape. And tactical teams just as all LE must knock and announce prior to an entry.

  • John R.Z305

    Those of you that don’t walk the blue line do not understand the type of criminals that are out here. I work in PG County and everyday someone is a victim of a carjacking, strong-arm robbery, assualted, etc. The need for SWAT is some time needed as the criminals is carrying the same or higher cal. type weapon that the normal patrol officer is not carrying. An animal and a car can be used as a weapon as well and poses a threat to anyone. We judge everything in today world but I quess if John Q. was held hostage in his home or better yet someone in his family. He would be looking for law enforcement to go in and get them out. The reason for SWAT is send in the trained professional to prevent those that do not have the skills from injury.

  • Nick

    Absolutely agree. Tactical entries are abused. Get a life, losers. You are not a military commando unit. Put down your gucciflage, your ACOG scope, your $1000 tactical nylon, your armored personnel vehicles. Stop shooting dogs, and handcuffing mayors. Knocking on the door would have done you just fine.

  • Tactical Medic

    John Q,
    Its so very obvious you have no clue what goes on with these teams. Instead of making blanket statements and swallowing a full load of liberal BS, why not get involved with your local PD and see first hand.

    Don’t rant. Don’t spew rhetoric. Don’t stomp your feet and get all puffed up. Go and ride with the officers for a two weeks. See first hand what we do.

    Casual tactical entries?? You show your naivety in spades! No entry is casual. No entry is routine and if you would look and investiagate yourself, you would see. Maybe your eyes would be open and see.

    Don’t be one of the herd. Be one a protector or help us protect better.

  • Mr. Jaymes Brandon

    I strongly urge everyone who is in doubt of these tactics, to get onboard a ‘ride-along’ program and ‘tour’ the actual workings of a police department, as well as a visit to a correctional facility where you can learn first-hand, the reality of these situations, instead of the portrayed TV and movie fantasies our present society is saturated with.

  • Citizen

    Those of you questioning the number of entries have either a) Never been to PG County b) never donned a police uniform or c) are simply criminals yourselves.

    How about the number of murders in the last 6 months compared to the otehr cities? PG just might double them.

  • Dave Hayes

    This is disturbing!END DRUG PROHIBITION NOW!

  • Joshua Myers

    If we walk up and knock on your door wearing our pretty little 1950’s era blue uniforms, with that Andy Griffith attitude, would that make you happy? The thing is that there are so many crazy bad guys out here that we don’t know who is who. So we have to treat everyone the same, and unfortunately it is not very well liked. We were tasked with a job that no one likes, but without us, this country would crumble in one weeks time. Sheriff Joshua Myers, Alabama

  • John Q.

    As a private citizen, I remain strongly convinced that ‘Tactical’ entries should only be performed for the very gravest of situations. If thrill-seeking SWAT teams want to practice tactical entries, then let them utilize an empty warehouse or other valid training facility, not private citizens dwellings.

    I hope the mayor of Berwyn Heights wins enough money to put a stop to casual tactical entries.