Bergen County law enforcement officials have activated a new regional SWAT team despite objections from County Executive Kathleen Donovan, NorthJersey.com reported.
According to the report, Donovan has said the regional team is unnecessary and duplicates work carried out by the Bergen County Police SWAT team.
For the time being when a hostage or shooting situation occurs, local police chiefs will be able to choose between calling the 45-member regional team or the 20-member County Police team, the report said. Bergen County Prosecutor Don Molinelli put together the regional SWAT team using officers from his office, the sheriff's office, and 17 municipal police departments, the report says.
So far, the group has not been called to respond to any incidents, the report said. According to NorthJersey.com, the dispute between Donovan and Molinelli has led to a battle of legal opinion over liability surrounding the regional SWAT team.
According to the report, the Executive Director of the Bergen County Municipal Joint Insurance Fund has sided with Molinelli, while the Bergen County Police Chief Association attorney backed Donovan's opinion.
Donovan's critics have said that this debate over the regional SWAT team is just the latest in the battle over the future of the Bergen County Police Departments, the report said. Last year the Bergen County Freeholders voted to consolidate the police department and the sheriffs department into one agency. Donovan is currently battling that decision in court.