The Wadsworth Police Department Tactical Unit originated in 1997 when four officers were added to the Medina County Sheriff's Office SWAT team. Since that time, the tactical unit (commonly referred to as SWAT) has been activated for high risk incidents many times throughout Medina County, including several times in Wadsworth City and Wadsworth Township.
Today, WPD has four police officers and a communications officer on the Medina County SWAT team joining officers from MCSO, Medina PD, and Montville Township PD. Membership on the team is purely voluntary and part of the officers' commitment is that they are on call 24 hours a day, 365 days per year.
The tactical unit is specially trained and equipped to handle incidents that are beyond the scope and nature of the patrol division. Their objective is to end 'critical incidents' safely using advanced equipment, tactics, and knowledge not normally available to the standard patrol officer.
A critical incident is any situation where there is an elevated risk or potential injury to the suspect, officer, or innocent bystander, and generally involves an armed person who poses a significant risk of harm to himself or others.
Training & Instruction
SWAT members conduct monthly training where they receive enhanced firearms training on multiple weapon systems and specialized tactics. This training includes building searches, school crisis response, and deployment into critical situations involving armed persons.
This advanced instruction not only makes the officers' patrol duties safer, but also elevates their job knowledge to a level where they are able to train the other officers in the department in many critical areas. As a result, such monthly in-service training saves the city thousands of dollars each year since it is done at a fraction of the cost that it would take to obtain similar training from outside sources.
The tactical unit acquired its first SWAT truck from the Wadsworth Fire Department in 1998 when it was retired from fire duty. It was customized for police use by the tactical officers with minimal cost to the city. In addition to carrying equipment and personnel, it was also able to function as a temporary command post and communications center.
This SWAT vehicle was recently retired from SWAT duty in late 2009 when a new SWAT truck was placed into service. The new SWAT vehicle was a former ambulance that was obtained from Wadsworth EMS when it was replaced by a brand new squad.
Like the first SWAT vehicle, this one was also converted to police use at a minimal cost to the city. It is a leaner, more efficient, and safer vehicle that is able to quickly deliver personnel and equipment to almost any location where a SWAT response is needed.