SWAT Teams Relieved by Peaceful Ending to Statesboro Standoff - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

01/18/06

SWAT Teams Relieved by Peaceful Ending to Statesboro Standoff

Police were ready in case things had not gone as well as they did in this week's standoff in Statesboro (Both Suspects in Custody as Hostage Situation Ends Peacefully). Lots of police, including officers from Statesboro, Bulloch County sheriff's deputies, and various state agencies, even a contingent from Savannah.

None of them had to use their awesome firepower. The SWAT teams that responded say that's just they way they like it.

Members of three SWAT teams worked around the clock for 24 hours, had on 40 pounds of gear, guns in hand, and stood at the ready for hours on end. They didn't know what the hostage takers were going to do and they had to be ready for anything.

"These operations are very manpower intensive and to remain on edge for an extended period of time is very difficult," noted Lt. Mike Wilkins, assistant commander of the Savannah-Chatham Swat Team, who was on the scene. "It's very mentally draining. You're out there, you're prepared at any moment to react to a situation that presents itself."

Wilkins worked hand in hand with the Statesboro-Bulloch County SWAT team and the Georgia State Patrol SWAT team. "It wasn't, 'Who's going to get the job done?' but 'Let's get the job done.'" he said.

They worked in shifts as the standoff with Robbie and Connie Brower dragged on. "The benefit of rotating teams is that the hostage taker cannot rotate out, so we have fresh eyes, fresh ears and a fresh look every time a new team come in," Wilkins explained. "It increases our chance for the situation to be resolved successfully."

And that's just how it ended, much to the delight of the man in charge, Statesboro police chief Stan York. "If you have to be in a situation like this, this is how you want it to end," he said.

In this case, they persuaded the Browers to give up. They did and released their hostage unharmed.

"I was thinking everybody there did their job," said Wilkins. "It was a relief, bottom line everyone came out safely. That's ultimately the goal of the SWAT team: everyone comes out safely."

This standoff was one of the longest police in our area have dealt with.

Savannah-Chatham's SWAT team was requested by Bulloch County, and Savannah-Chatham police say, if they're ever in a similar situation, they'll call on their brothers in the 'Boro.

Reported by: Michelle Paynter, mpaynter@wtoc.com

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