Rumblings from deep inside the bowels of City Hall indicate that Charlottesville Police Chief, Dr. Rashall Brackney, effectively has eviscerated the Department’s Special Weapons And Tactics (SWAT) team. This, in spite of a November 13, 2019 Charlottesville Police Department (CPD) General Order regarding SWAT, signed by Chief Brackney:
The Charlottesville Police Department recognizes that the presence of a highly trained, highly skilled police tactical unit has been shown to substantially reduce the risk of injury or loss of life to citizens, police officers and suspects. The Department further recognizes that a well-managed “team” response to critical incidents usually results in successful resolution of critical incidents, therefore the Charlottesville Police Department Special Weapons and Tactics (S.W.A.T.) Team has been implemented to provide a highly trained and skilled tactical team as a resource for the Charlottesville Police Department in the handling of critical incidents.
Personnel issues reportedly are behind the actions that seemingly have left Charlottesville without a functional tactical/critical incident-capable unit.
According to sources, relying on the Albemarle County Police Department (ACPD) to manage critical City PD incidents is unrealistic, due to lingering mistrust over the City’s legal handling of a 2013 ACPD officer-involved shooting (within City limits), in which the accused ACPD officers eventually were cleared.
Due to poor interdepartmental relations with the Virginia State Police, they too, are at best a reluctant partner for the CPD, should tactical needs arise in Charlottesville.
For a city that has experienced numerous traumatic, high-profile, violent incidents over the past two decades, this is a troubling development—one which does not bode well for the well-being of Charlottesville residents.