FOP president, SWAT originator want full-time SWAT team for Cincinnati

Posted at 6:26 PM, Jul 18, 2016
and last updated 2016-07-18 19:18:45-04

CINCINNATI - Cities across the country are taking a closer look at their safety measures following the recent ambush killings of eight officers in Baton Rouge and Dallas and the massacre in Orlando.

City Council member Christopher Smitherman thinks the city needs a full-time SWAT team, like Columbus and Cleveland have. Cincinnati FOP President Daniel Hils agrees.

"A full-time SWAT team here makes a lot of sense," Hils told WCPO Monday. "We have a great SWAT team. We have some of the best trained people in the country, but to have them out there and have them available, to me, is a no brainer."

Hils says he has been pushing for a full-time team for a while. He called the recent killings "a huge wake-up call."

"In a moment's notice we can go from the peacemaker to  a combatant," he said.

SWAT officers here operate on-call. That's how it was created back in the early 70s.

"The times were different then," said Gene Ferrara, who wrote the proposal that formed the city's SWAT team. Ferrara is a retired Cincinnati officer and former University of Cincinnati police chief.

  "The SWAT team we had at the time being on call was fine, (but) today's a different day …  What you're facing is different today. I think it's perfectly appropriate to at least analyze the situation - to look at it and decide whether we really need it," Ferrara said.

It's too early to tell how much it would cost. We reached out to Cincinnati police and they say there's a lot to be discussed on this matter. City council is expected to bring this up in September.