Joliet SWAT team to use explosives
BY BOB OKON email@example.com April 2, 2013 10:21PM
Updated: May 5, 2013 2:41PM
Joliet police will equip the department’s SWAT team with explosives to break through steel doors and fortified barriers in emergency situations.
Explosives can be used with precision to knock down doors without disturbing the walls around them or make holes in doors without damaging the locks, police showed in a presentation Tuesday to elected officials.
“This is something the Joliet Police Department has never had before,” Police Chief Mike Trafton told the city council’s public safety committee. “It is something I think we need. It’s not something new to law enforcement, but it is new to the Joliet Police Department.”
Trafton did not point to any situation in which Joliet police were not able to break through a fortified barrier. But he said police needed to be prepared for circumstances that could occur in a school building or a hostage situation.
Committee members voiced no objections to the plan.
Police officer Chris Gombosi, a member of the SWAT team, said explosives can be used to penetrate buildings suddenly in cases of hostage takings and other emergencies.
“It’s a very precise amount of explosives that we’re using to gain entry into a stronghold,” Gombosi said.
Gombosi said the Will County sheriff’s police and Illinois State Police are equipped with explosives for forced entries.
The cost of implementing the program is less than $16,000, an amount low enough that council approval for the spending is not needed. But Trafton said he wanted to consult with the council before initiating the program.
Trafton and Gombosi said the use of explosives for sudden entry is safer for both hostages and police because it gives police the element of surprise when confronting a situation in which a hostage taker may be armed with weapons or explosives.