SWAT Could Split UP
Photo: Video by nbc26.com
GRAND CHUTE-- The Appleton and Grand Chute police departments’ joint SWAT team could soon be parting ways.
Insiders say the agreement could end less than two years after it was signed, over what Grand Chute leaders are calling a "misunderstanding".
Appleton's police chief asked for the split citing a philosophical difference between the departments, saying Grand Chute police did not want Appleton’s senior staff on scene in Grand Chute. But Grand Chute leaders say that is not true and they want to keep the partnership going.
"The city of Appleton thinks that we don't want their chief on the scene and that is not really the case, it never was the case,” said Grand Chute Town Board Chairman Dave Schowalter.
Schowalter says there was confusion over how and when the town is billed for swat calls. Schowalter says it’s an issue that can be resolved and he’s working with Appleton Mayor Tim Hanna to fix it.
The SWAT team covers a population of more than 117,000 people. It was deployed 5 times this year, 3 times in Grand Chute, once in Appleton and once in Menasha.
Appleton Mayor Tim Hanna’s office referred questions to the police. A department spokesperson says they are waiting for a decision to be made before commenting. The Safety and Licensing Committee voted 5-0 last week to move forward with the split. The final decision rests in the hands of the city council, at least one alderperson tells NBC26 he'll likely follow the committee's recommendation and vote to end the agreement.
The issue goes to the Appleton city council Wednesday at 7:00 p.m. Police say safety will not be compromised if the two departments head their separate ways. Grand Chute leaders say if the partnership ends the town will go back to its original swat agreement with Outagamie County.