SWAT team gets eight new members

Submitted photo Eight lawmen and first responders recently completed training to join the SWAT team. Pictured, left to right, are: Brandon Kent, Charlie Parker, Wren Johnson, Matt McDaniels, Brandon Hill, bottom center, Hayden Jones, top center, Chris Kitlis, and Noah Morrison.  

THOMASVILLE — A number of local lawmen and first responders recently joined the ranks of a specialized team that handles the most dangerous situations.   

Eight recently completed training to become certified SWAT team members. 

The new additions brings the unit to 21 members — a "full SWAT team" — said Lt. Tim Watkins, SWAT team commander and sheriff's office chief investigator. 

SWAT is joint unit between the Thomas County Sheriff's Office and Thomasville Police Department, and also consists of emergency medical service personnel and firefighters. 

Watkins said the benefit of having a joint unit is the "sheer volume of personnel" for the SWAT team. 

The cost of equipment and training also is split between the two law enforcement agencies, the SWAT commander added. 

With the addition of eight new members, the Thomas County/Thomasville Narcotics/Vice Division now has three SWAT-certified members, according to Louis Schofill, drug squad commander. 

"It'll help us with planning for searches," Schofill said. 

Schofill also said the SWAT-trained agents will be able to aid in specialized operations. Having SWAT-certified lawmen, Schofill pointed out, also allows for access to different equipment. 

The training was Feb. 5-9. 

Reporter Jordan Barela can be reached at (229) 226-2400, ext. 1826. 

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