Bixby, Sand Springs and Sapulpa police to create new joint SWAT team

Three cities in Green Country are pooling their resources to fight crime more effectively.

Bixby, Sand Springs and Sapulpa Police Departments are forming a three city SWAT team, called the Southwest Area Tactical team.

Bixby police officer Rene Torres plans to try out for the newly constructed team.

Since Bixby doesn't have their own SWAT team, they've had to call in help from the Tulsa Police Department or the Tulsa County Sheriff's Office.

"Throughout my law enforcement career there's been times where we've called different agencies to assist us in search warrants and things of that nature, barricaded individuals," said Torres. "Sitting on the sidelines, observing and one day hoping to do something like that."

For the last year, Sand Springs and Sapulpa forces have been working together. Sand Springs deputy chief Mike Carter says the addition of Bixby allows for a more robust, unified SWAT team.

"Before this, it was two teams that had come together and assisting each other and now as of October it's going to be one team," Carter said.

If there's an incident in any of the three cities that requires a tactical team or negotiators, there will be fully trained and equipped officers on call from each department, ready to respond.

"It allows Bixby, Sapulpa and Sand Springs to share our manpower, to share our resources, as far as equipment, to form one team that all three municipalities have a vested interest in," said Bixby Police Sgt. Andrew Choate.

Choate says the joint SWAT team is cost effective, as a city-run SWAT team would cost Bixby more than $150,000 to start.

Officials say it will allow them to better protect each of their communities.

"That's why I joined this, that's why I want to do this," Torres said. "Being a police officer, helping the public, assisting your citizens and hoping to make a difference in your community," Torres said.

Try outs for the tactical team will be held later in October and are open to officers from all three departments. The joint team is expected to be in place sometime in the November.

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