Use of SWAT teams is on the rise - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Use of SWAT teams is on the rise

Posted: Updated:
SPOKANE VALLEY, Wash. -

The week ended the way it started- with a SWAT stand-off on the South Hill.

The suspect, Steven G. Serpa, known to police for a previous case of domestic violence.

"Upon our arrival we did locate the victims of the assault and the suspect was reported to be barricaded inside the house," said Officer Laiva of the Spokane Police Department.

Thankfully, the Serpa stand-off ended without bloodshed. Talon the police K-9 cornered him in the rafters of the house.

A different story lat Monday, when bullets flew as the county SWAT team tried to defuse a domestic violence situation at the home of former banker Dean Bellamy.

The standoff ended with Bellamy dead - and a county deputy wounded.

Overall - use of swat teams to conduct what was once routine police work is on the rise.

With more than half of tactical calls categorized as "high risk" calls to serve warrants, it's a system that has SWAT team members like Lieutenant Steven Wohl on edge.

"Unfortunately walking into these we never know what is going on inside what crisis the individual is going through and what weapons they have," Wohl explained.

Spokane Police called in their SWAT team more than 600 times between 2000 and 2015. A third of those cases, were so called *tactical operations* in which a person was armed and suicidal.

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