Lakeland (FL) SWAT Team Puts New Ride Into Action (Blow out windows on house no one was in)
THE LEDGER ^ | Saturday, April 19, 2014 | Stephanie Allen
Posted on Saturday, April 19, 2014 9:19:28 AM by Sam’s Army
Lakeland Police SWAT team officers looking for stolen motorcycles tried out their newest technologies Friday evening while serving a search warrant on a house in South Lakeland.
Police said detectives have been investigating motorcycle thefts in Polk, Hillsborough and Orange counties.
After conducting surveillance and gathering information for a judge to sign a search warrant, LPD called in its SWAT team to execute the warrant at a house on Empress Way in the neighborhood near Kelly Recreation Center, Sgt. Mike Lewis said.
“We did not know if anyone was inside and we had information that the persons involved were armed,” Lewis said. “It was a safety issue.”
It was an opportunity for police to see how well their newly acquired Lenco BearCat armored vehicle would perform. City commissioners last year approved the purchase of the 22,000-pound bullet-resistant vehicle to replace a 1967 armored vehicle. The BearCat features new technologies, air-conditioning, cameras and seating for 12 officers instead of six.
On Friday, the SWAT team drove the BearCat down Lakeland streets and onto the front lawn of the house. The officers crouched behind and inside the vehicle, unsure of what was inside the house.
The officers used tactical maneuvers to blow out the front windows, leaving curtains lying in the yard, and they gained entry into the attached garage.
After more than an hour of searching, officers cleared the house. No one was inside, Lewis said.
“(The vehicle) completely revolutionizes things because we can bring cover up to a location,” Lakeland Police Lt. Mike Spade said. “We went on the assumption that someone could be armed in the house. We needed to be safe.””