Tactical team sees increase in number of responses

EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WEAU)- This year is off to a busy start for a team of men and women trained to respond to high risk situations.

In the past three months the Eau Claire County Sheriff says the Eau Claire County Combined Tactical Team has responded to five calls. All of them included a suspect with a gun.

The latest incident happened Tuesday night on Skyhawk Drive, west of Eau Claire. Sheriff Ron Cramer says deputies got a call about a husband and wife having an argument and the husband fired a shot.
No one was hurt. The man was taken to the hospital to be checked out.

Just over a week ago the tactical team was called out when 31-year old James Albrecht allegedly took five people hostage including three children during a nearly seven hour standoff on Eau Claire’s south side.

Sheriff Cramer says there are a number of reasons the tactical team could be called out to a situation but this year they are seeing more situations where suspects have a gun.

“Safety is always a first priority we always try to negotiate with the individual to get them to come out of the house and we don't like putting our people in harm’s way,” Sheriff Cramer said.

Sheriff Ron Cramer says when situations like the standoff last week on Eau Claire’s south side happen, the tactical team is ready to respond. But there is a trend that he's seen this year that's caught his attention.

“We have been getting quite a few incidents with weapons where we have had our tactical team called out and it is concerning to law enforcement especially our first responders,” Cramer said.

Sheriff Cramer says in situations where a gun is involved safety takes center stage. When it comes to pinpointing a cause behind the increase in SWAT team responses, Cramer says the weather could play a role.

“It may be a knee jerk reaction to how long we have had for a winter. Depression, alcohol and drug use are usually involved too,” Cramer explained.

Sheriff Cramer says members of the tactical team train on average about twelve hours per month to make sure they are prepared to handle any situation.

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