San Diego SWAT unit receives new weapons thanks to local businesses, citizens
Citizens for San Diego SWAT helps replace weapons
Last Updated: 87 days ago
SAN DIEGO - The San Diego Police Department's SWAT unit now has new weapons at their disposal thanks to a group of local businesses and citizens.
On Tuesday morning, Citizens for San Diego SWAT presented the SWAT team with 84 new, top-of-the-line weapons for the 85 officers. They will replace the old ones, which range from Vietnam War-era weapons to 20-years-old ones. The weapons had a hefty price tag -- totaling about $175,000 -- and officers also received new helmets and new communication systems, in part, thanks to those donations.
In all, the committee received funding from more than 70 companies in San Diego. SWAT Commanding Officer, Lt. Mark Hanten, ran down a list of businesses and people he thanked like Rick Haux Sr. of Mor Furniture for Less, Chris Rowe of Echo Pacific Construction and Peter Genenderp of Serta.
Former Chargers player Kris Dielman was among the donors, and he was on hand for the presentation.
"These guys are using weapons that are from Vietnam and very outdated," he told 10News. "The bad guys that they're going against have the top-of-the-line stuff, so now they have the top-of-the-line stuff," Dielman said.
"I think it's pretty amazing that they have been out there with all this gear," he added.
SDPD SWAT Officer Michael DeWitt said, "Without having the tools, we can't safely do our job sometimes."
However, that does not stop them, as SWAT officers are known to run to danger as others run from it.
Last September, DeWitt assisted two sheriff's deputies -- Craig Johnson and Ali Perez -- as they faced gunfire in Lakeside.
DeWitt told 10News he worked closely with sheriff's deputies to get a rescue team together on scene.
Like most heroes in uniform, he is humble and credits other law enforcement members and a trauma kit, which was donated weeks before.
"If I didn't have that kit, I don't think he (Perez) would have been alive," he added.
That was just one of the many heroic acts that day among different agencies and just a look at one day in the life of a SWAT officer.
"Having the right tool for the right job is crucial for our success," DeWitt explained. "It's life and death."
10News has learned the SWAT unit also needs new vests, which would cost at least $175,000, before new hires.
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