Nonprofit raises money for new SWAT equipment

Group has raised $700,000 since 2005

SAN DIEGO - The San Diego police SWAT team needs new equipment and the money will not come from the city, so a nonprofit group is stepping up to help the specialty officers raise money for the latest and greatest technology.

"You don't want to have to worry about your equipment … whether or not it's going to function properly," said SWAT member David Speck. "You want to be worrying about the problem at hand."

Members said it is not cheap to keep up with technology or to outfit a team of 81.

For every SWAT member, it costs $1,500 for the helmet and communication system, $2,000 for the vest and $2,500 for the rifle.

Other equipment pushes up the total to about $7,500 to outfit a specialty officer.

(Watch the SWAT team demonstration in the video to the left, where the Troubleshooter is taken hostage.)

SWAT is funded through the San Diego Police Department's $160 million budget, but it does not cover the latest equipment and technology.

That is where Citizens for SWAT comes in.

"The money that we get helps bridge the gap between what we get from the city and what we need in terms of safety equipment," said Lt. Mark Saunders.

Citizens for SWAT is a nonprofit group that has raised $700,000 since 2005.

This year, the group hopes to raise money for weapons for new SWAT members, updates to the Bearcat and night vision goggles.

"It absolutely costs a lot of money to keep us safe, hence keeping the citizens safe," Speck said.

Citizens for SWAT is holding its biggest fundraiser of the year on Saturday, Oct. 24.

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