JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - This week we’ve seen two SWAT standoffs which ended with police entering the home, only to find it empty.
Jacksonville police say on Sunday, 21 year-old Michael Farrell pulled a gun on his father and then barricaded himself in their home. SWAT teams surrounded, and five hours later they emptied to find Farrell gone. He later turned himself in.
Police say on Wednesday, they responded to possible shots fired and surrounded the home, believing 22 year-old Alrah Bynum was inside. Over eight hours later, SWAT teams entered an empty home.
We asked the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office why this can happen, and received an email back from Ron Lendvay, the chief of the JSO Homeland Security Department:
WOKV: Is there generally a timeframe after which there’s no communication with the presumed individual inside when the teams decide to go in the house? At what point during the standoff do teams consider going inside?
Lendvay: Every call has a different set of facts and circumstances and is handled according to those factors present. Every effort is made to resolve any call out with life safety as the top priority. This includes the safety of the general public, our officers and the suspect. Strategic tactical information is safeguarded to protect those involved so details can’t be discussed.
WOKV: Could you explain, describe, and/or elaborate on the manpower and equipment required for a SWAT response and how much that costs? Is it per hour?
Lendvay: Every incident is different and there is no standard response. The cost will vary based on the assets required to bring each incident to a successful conclusion.
WOKV: We’re asking these questions based off of immediate reaction we’re getting from our listeners after Sunday’s standoff lasted for five hours and today’s lasted for eight hours, both ending with no one inside. People basically want to know how it could happen.
Lendvay: SWAT team response is a coordinated effort between patrol commanders at the scene on the original call and SWAT commanders who respond when it is believed a suspect may be barricaded in a structure. They utilize the best information available to them to make decisions. The available information often includes information provided by witnesses and bystanders which can’t always be corroborated independently. Tactics are then employed which commanders believe have the best chance of resolving the situation safely and peacefully for all parties involved. Life safety is the priority on these involving reportedly armed suspects.