SWAT team trains with coast agencies to be ready

HARRISON COUNTY, MS (WLOX) - Swat teams went house to house Friday searching for Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, the 19-year-old Boston Marathon bombing suspect. Law enforcement agencies in the Boston area joined forces to protect the public during the massive manhunt.

Here in South Mississippi, that type of inter-agency cooperation is very much the same. It is actually something they train for together.

Harrison County Special Weapons and Tactics, or SWAT team member Anthony Piazza is a former U.S. Marine who stands ready and equipped to jump into action at a moment's notice.

"I carry lots of ammunition with me," Piazza said. "Three standard magazines for the Glock 22, 40 caliber pistol along with extra magazines for my AR 15."

Showing one of the many grenades on his 60 pound belt, he said, "This is a flash bang grenade and it's perfect for distraction. It gives us time to get in the house where a suspect is hiding."

For five years, Piazza's been part of the elite SWAT team, which not only has the best equipment money can buy, but the best training.

"You know, the amount of training that we have done, it's almost, it's second nature to me."

We've seen SWAT teams called in many times in the most dire of circumstances.

"SWAT is a life saving unit, not a life taking unit. And that's what we believe in."

But when tragedies like the Boston Marathon Bombings happen, their jobs can become helping local law enforcement secure very large areas to help hunt a suspect down.

"All the leads that have to be run down, it's just an exhausting effort that's taking place right now," Harrison County Chief Deputy Landi Phillips said.

Phillips said here in South Mississippi, local agencies work extremely well together.

"We're very fortunate. The sheriff's put together a little task force which includes the sheriff and the police chiefs in Harrison County. They meet once a month and they discuss the issues of law enforcement in Harrison County. Among those issues are consolidation efforts," Phillips said.

Training together is something they plan to do even more of in the future. This SWAT member says without a doubt, it works.

"We can interchange and move one team in, back another team off so they can get a rest for a little bit. So in our agency, cooperation is really, really good here on the coast," Piazza said.

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