The SWAT team, which stands for Special Weapons And Tactics, is an elite unit within the Anderson County Sheriff’s Office. The SWAT team is used for exceptional situations that require increased firepower or specialized tactics. The officers of our SWAT team have undergone special training and have access to an arsenal of weaponry, armor and equipment beyond standard-issue gear. Besides the initial training the team continually trains on the latest techniques and practice scenarios.
Here are a few situations that might require a SWAT team call-out:
- A high-risk warrant - If the Sheriff’s Office is going to conduct an arrest at a home, and they know the person is likely to be armed, they will call in the SWAT team to perform the arrest.
- A hostage situation - SWAT team snipers are trained to take out an attacker who is holding a hostage in the event that negotiations break down.
- A barricade situation - When criminals barricade themselves inside a building, possibly with weapons that are fired out at the officers or civilians, a SWAT team can launch a powerful assault to end the stand-off.
The mission of the SWAT Team is to provide a well-disciplined, well-trained, efficient unit, which can be utilized by the Sheriff’s Office in situations where the public and individual officers are in extreme danger and at a distinct disadvantage.
The C.A.T.C.H. Team (Criminal Apprehension Through Community Help) is comprised of a 14 officer team within the Uniform Patrol Division’s Special Operations Unit which covers all four regions of the county. The major duty of the CATCH Team is special enforcement through saturation of areas of higher crime to help detect and deter individuals committing crimes such as burglaries, vehicle thefts, and drug trafficking/manufacturing.
Additionally, several service dogs are handled by members of the CATCH Team. These service dogs are used in the apprehension of fleeing suspects, clearing large structures, discovery of explosives, and detection of illegal narcotics such as marijuana, methamphetamine, heroin, cocaine, and crack cocaine.
HEAT officers, short for Highway Enforcement of Aggressive Traffic Officers, work to enforce traffic laws to ensure the safety of the motoring public. The CATCH Team also assists the Narcotics Division with the execution of search warrants as needed and act as perimeter support during SWAT activations to keep Uniform Patrol Deputies in service for calls.
The Anderson County Sheriff’s Office Bomb Squad is a small but highly skilled unit within the Sheriff’s Office. Many people often wonder about the need for such a specialized unit, as bomb threats are seemingly not an everyday occurrence. While it’s true that the Bomb Squad is trained on dealing with improvised explosive devices, used by both international and domestic terrorist, they are also trained in other important functions at the Sheriff’s Office such as the removal and disposal of explosive material and ordnance. Many people are unaware that there are many cases in our region where someone in their business (or on their farm) may have used explosives such as dynamite in their work. The material may still be stored on the site but the owner is now deceased.
There have been many times that families members, while cleaning out an old barn or storage building, discover these explosive and frequently unstable items, often decades later. There have been many cases of old ordnance being discovered that were souvenirs from the Second World War (and even older) including ammunition and hand grenades. The Anderson County Sheriff’s Office Bomb Squad is sent in to safely remove and dispose of this dangerous material.
The Bomb Squad is often called in for the dismantling of a methamphetamine (METH) lab, as often these illegal drug manufacturing facilities have highly volatile chemicals that are highly explosive. In addition, the unit also works with legitimate industries that use chemicals and materials that could be explosive to help assure the safety of that material and the community.
One of the many tools used by the Bomb Squad includes remote controlled robots. These robots can be used to remove or interrupt an explosive device, but often are used for their surveillance capability on SWAT calls to protect the lives of the officers on the scene. The Bomb Squad is tasked with the maintenance, operation, and deployment of those units.
The Sheriff's Office has an OH58A Bell helicopter for use in law enforcement and search and rescue missions. The Sheriff's Office has several pilots that are on-call as an additionall responsibility to their regularly assigned duties.
Mutual Aid agreements with surrounding agencies allow the Sheriff's Office to provide assistance to jurisdictions that may not have aviation capabilities. This service provides a reduced response time for critical incidents with only the cost of fuel reimbursement to the requesting agency.
The Anderson County Sheriff's Office K9 teams provide a great service to the community, tracking missing persons, apprehending suspects and locating evidence. They allow patrol officers to work in a safer and more efficient manner and perform functions that human officers are simply unable to do. For example, officers searching a building—without the benefit of a K9 team—will take much longer to perform the search (and will be exposed to greater risk).
Performing a building search with a K9 team will enable to the search to be performed in much less time, increasing efficiency (freeing up officers for other calls/duties) and decreasing risk to officers. The K9 teams have tracked (and located) missing persons, apprehended dangerous suspects, and been responsible for the removal of a significant amount of illegal drugs and weapons from the community.
- Provide quality services in specialized underwater crime scene investigations by using forensic techniques specially developed for an underwater environment.
- Recover evidence of crimes, stolen items and any other need for a dive in support of other units of the Sheriff’s Office, Coroner’s Office, outside law enforcement agencies, and EMS.
- Aid victims of severe flooding with evacuation using techniques and equipment used for swift water rescue.
- Train to provide quality, professional response for the citizens of Anderson County for the recovery of stolen property, or evidence that can bring suspects to justice to give closure to victims or their families.
- Be available at any time to protect life and property in water-related incidents.
Dive Team in Action
Dive Team in Regular Training
LAKE PATROL UNIT
With over 56,000 acres of water, nearly 1000 miles of shoreline and over 1000 registered docks, Lake Hartwell serves as a major recreation destination for citizens across the upstate of South Carolina and across Northeastern Georgia.
Over the years, since the Lake was first built in 1962, lake usage has grown along side with the higher population of residents who now live along its shoreline in new homes and housing developments. As the population has increased in the region, so has the interest in boating. Throughout the year you can find all type of watercraft on Lake Hartwell ranging from all sizes of power boats, pontoon boats, sailboats, personal watercraft, and even houseboats.
Along with the number watercraft, the number of people that swim in Lake Hartwell has also increased. This vastly increased usage and activity on the Lake makes the importance of safety on the lake a concern for us all.
As a result, the Anderson County Sheriff's Office now provides for improved safety by assigning officers to patrol the lake. The Sheriff’s Office utilizes one fulltime lake deputy and numerous assisting officers to staff the Lake Unit.