Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

Local News

July 5, 2013

Kokomo, Howard Co. SWAT: Armed and ready

Members train monthly for the unexpected.

When Ronald Johnson refused to come out of his house on North Buckeye Street last week, the Kokomo Police Department’s SWAT unit sprang into action.

Police say Johnson, who is a suspect in a sexual battery case, threatened the alleged victim in the case with a handgun, setting the stage for a police standoff.

After repeated efforts to coax Johnson from the house failed, SWAT members surrounded the house and fired a “flash bang” device into the house. Moments later, Johnson walked out the front door with hands raised and surrendered without injury.

Maj. Anthony Arnett, a 13-year veteran of SWAT, said that peaceful conclusion is how most SWAT call-outs end.

The incident with Johnson is just one of numerous calls KPD’s SWAT unit has been called to this year.

SWAT is often called to assist in serving high-risk arrest warrants, performing hostage rescue or armed intervention when someone barricades himself in a home or building or to engage heavily armed people, said Arnett.

In last week’s call-out, SWAT was needed since Johnson refused to come out of his house and was possibly armed.

Going into situations like that can be dangerous.

“You never know what you’re going up against,” Arnett said.

“There’s always that nervousness — not really scared. You don’t know 100 percent how it’s going to play out.”

In last week’s call-out, Arnett and the other members were training with police negotiators on the south end of town when they heard the incident unveiling, he recalled.

“We were already in SWAT mode,” Arnett said. “We were waiting for the word.”

When it comes to the number of call-outs, Arnett said it varies from year to year.

“Some years we will have 50 call-outs, and other years we have 10.”

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