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The Verde Independent | Cottonwood, Arizona

home : latest news : local August 1, 2014

8/10/2013 2:49:00 PM
SWAT: Verde Valley team going beyond convention
VVN/Bill Helm
CVMO Deputy Steve McClure also works with the Verde Valley Regional SWAT Team.
VVN/Bill Helm
CVMO Deputy Steve McClure also works with the Verde Valley Regional SWAT Team.

Bill Helm
Staff Reporter

VERDE VALLEY - Deputy Steve McClure of the Camp Verde Marshal's Office functions better when he is under stress.

So it would make sense that he is also a member of the Verde Valley Regional SWAT Team.

SWAT, which stands for Special Weapons and Tactics, is a law enforcement unit that uses military-style weapons and specific tactics in high-risk operations beyond the capabilities of conventional police.

The team consists of members from four local agencies: CVMO, Yavapai-Apache Police Department, Cottonwood Police Department and Sedona Police Department, with about 20 members, including snipers/observers, negotiators, and operators.

The Verde Valley Regional SWAT Team was established in 2004. At that time, the equipment that the officers used was either donated or purchased out of their own pockets. With the recognized need for the tactical unit, the SWAT team now has a limited operating budget that helps keep members safe.

Sgt. Kevin Murie of the Cottonwood Police Department is the SWAT Team Leader. Murie has worked with McClure since November 2012 when McClure applied to join SWAT. Murie was involved in McClure's interview process.

"Deputy McClure stood out because he is in great physical shape and was able to focus and answer the questions without hesitation, and the answers he gave were well thought out and accurate to his best ability," Murie said.

According to Murie, the SWAT testing process consists of a physical fitness assessment that incorporates several different tasks, such as dragging a 200-pound dummy, jumping a six-foot wall multiple times, conducting a low crawl for a short distance, carrying a shield for a designated distance, and finally hitting a ram door, all while running a lap in between each task, for an approximate course distance of one mile.

As soon as the applicants are finished running, they immediately go into an oral board interview. Applicants interview with no rest because SWAT needs to gauge their focus and decision-making skills when stressed and tired.

Once selected to be on the SWAT team, members maintain about 20 hours of training each month. McClure said there were many reasons he wanted to be part of SWAT.

"I do well with the training," McClure said. "You can't beat it. We train with a lot of agencies. I'm not one of the ex-jocks or one of the guys who wants to knock down doors. But SWAT is a good fit for me. I like the work. I enjoy being part of the team. It's all part of law enforcement. The job is a great job. And it's a good group of guys on the team. You learn a lot more regarding tactics and safety. And I'm able to share all of that with the guys here [at CVMO]."

According to team member Jon Huey, strong social skills are important for a SWAT officer.

"He's a good motivator," said Huey, who has been with YAPD for 12 years, and for close to two years as sergeant. "He's very easy to get along with. Trust is a big issue with SWAT. If your personality is not a good fit, they can cut you."

"Deputy McClure is a great SWAT operator and is very eager to learn new things, which is important in a high stress and high liability area such as SWAT," Murie said. "It's a pleasure to have Deputy McClure as a very big part of this team."

According to CVMO Marshal Nancy Gardner, McClure's training with SWAT brings something special to CVMO.

"We're very proud of the work he's done," Gardner said. "He offers the Marshal's Office higher levels of training, such as shooting technique and building clearing. He's helped train all of our officers and brings additional tactical training. Any time we can get our officers additional training, it helps keep them safe."

Members of the Verde Valley Regional SWAT Team are part-time, McClure said, so juggling SWAT hours with his responsibility with CVMO "has not really been an issue. Most of the calls have been on my own off time."

"With all of us being small agencies, it is important to pool our resources together," Gardner said. "We can't assume that nothing will happen in our community. One of my goals is to work in conjunction with the other agencies. This is another area for us to partner and to fight crime. This is a way to handle potential critical incidents that occur in the Verde Valley. They train together, so they are all on the same page."

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Reader Comments

Posted: Friday, August 16, 2013
Article comment by: Be careful when gardening....

Texas Police Hit Organic Farm With Massive SWAT Raid


Posted: Thursday, August 15, 2013
Article comment by: @ David

Imagine yourself sitting on your couch watching your favorite show, 'America's Got Talent.'

There you are, in your tacti-cool gear, quietly sipping your chard, nestling your AR-15 comfortably across your lap, minding your own business, the words, 'Semper Paratis,' echoing reassuringly in the back of your mind.

Now, imagine your local friendly SWAT team busts down your door thinking you are the operator of the crack lab they just KNOW is in your back room.

G'luck explaining to them you are merely exercising your 2nd Amendment rights and like dressing like them.


Posted: Thursday, August 15, 2013
Article comment by: EGO tistic

David in Cottonwood tooting his own horn again.

Posted: Thursday, August 15, 2013
Article comment by: What's with the camouflage?

They stand out like sore thumbs.

Posted: Thursday, August 15, 2013
Article comment by: Agree w/Slater

Outfit cops like an occupying army and they start acting like one. Especially when they're frightened.

Replacing tact with tactical gets people killed.

The Pima County SWAT team fired 71 rounds at Jose Ortiz, hitting the Iraq war veteran 22 times…

Ortiz had a regular job. The cops could've been waiting with their warrant and searched the house when he returned from work. But it seems that if a police department has SWAT gear then they've got to use it, needed or not.

Posted: Thursday, August 15, 2013
Article comment by: Matthew Holmes

P.S. My FBI experience was before 9/11 I might add. The feds have done nothing since 9/11 that they did not do before 9/11. The only difference is that they have since done things more brazenly and openly than many Americans would have tolerated before 9/11.

Posted: Thursday, August 15, 2013
Article comment by: Bob Loblaw

Oh David,

You are ever the voice of reason aren't you? You say, "I'm against militarization of the police department', but in the same breath, "I'm not too against it".

While I agree that whatever weapons the police have are good enough for citizens also, the fact is that most citizens do not have the means to sufficiently maintain an arsenal for the day our local police gestapo decide it's all out war.

No-one is claiming a 'wild wild west' environment precludes the need for law enforcement. The frustration you 'hear' in people's reactions is the result of having to deal with the arrogant, disrespectful, over-armed and over-whelming attitude of cops who think they have a right to demand respect rather than earn it as contributing members of our community. Too many cops act like pansies who are seeking retribution from the bullies who harassed them in high school.

It's pretty clear that 20 yrs in the Armed Services Motorpool has instilled in you a respect for authority that is unsurpassed, and I'm relatively sure you think that is a good thing. I for one am not so sure!

Posted: Thursday, August 15, 2013
Article comment by: Matthew Holmes

@ Dale Ruff:

I confused you with Dale Gohr, my sincerest apologies.

Posted: Thursday, August 15, 2013
Article comment by: Matthew Holmes

Ahhhh, top of the morning to ya, Bob and Slater, you guys rock! And (I never thought I'd hear myself say this, but) Dale too. Dale, the fascist police state has been around a while. The two party tyranny preselects candidates that are sure to not rock the boat, and then presents them to us for a superficial eennie-meenie-minnie-mo, and many Americans actually believe this is somehow democratic - thanks to our kool-aid dispensing education system and "independent" media. A Siberian once told Farley Mowat, "Very clever propaganda you Americans have, the difference is that you actually believe yours and we [Soviets] tend to disbelieve ours."

And let's not forget Ruby Ridge, Waco? Our own government murdering men, women, children. I suppose for many I'm a conspiracy theorist nutjob for bringing this up. Oh well. When I went through an FBI raid over ten years ago now, I challenged them at every turn. They asked me if I was armed and I answered "No, but the Constitution protects my right to bear arms". Their answer: "We have passed laws that supercede the Constitution," and then they threatened to detain me indefinitely. I told them that was treason. Folks said I was lucky to be alive after my uppity attitude in the face of the Leviathan. This was before Baby Bush and O'Bama.

Posted: Wednesday, August 14, 2013
Article comment by: David in Cottonwood

I can see both sides of this debate. On the one hand I am extremely supportive of the PD, they provide a necessary service and rarely get the good press they aught to get.
On the other hand I am dead set against the militarization of local departments, especially in small town settings where we simply do not face the type of violence that would excuse the expense. Having served, I know for a fact how expensive the operational costs, maintenance, and repair of the HMMWV is, not to mention the costs of a good deal of the tacti-cool gear SWAT teams use. Nothing here in the Verde really justifies the cost in my opinion.

I do find it interesting though that the rhetoric from armchair quarterbacks like Bob express fear of one thing while making fun of the caution expressed by others. The level of vitriol expressed by some of the posters doesn't seem to indicate any sense of reasonable disgruntlement with unreasonable expense and expansion, but rather an anarchist attitude toward any image of authority at all. Barstool braggarts resting on their families laurels and claiming a 'wild wild west' environment precludes the need for law enforcement is demonstrably looney. But hey, that too is part of living in the Southwest.

On the bright side, so long as the police department continues to arm themselves this way, Second Amendment supporters like myself have all the evidence we need for why citizens should be armed as well as can be. Even though I support them, no officer should be armed any better than I can arm myself. I am my own first line of defense, and if the tacti-cool gear, to include the weapons systems, is good enough for them it should be good enough for me.

Posted: Wednesday, August 14, 2013
Article comment by: Arthur, please get the flock

outta here.

Because you see yourself as a helpless sheep is no reason to smear others who don't bow in subservience to your sheepdog 'protectors.'


Posted: Wednesday, August 14, 2013
Article comment by: Slater Slater

Close minded robots interest me not.AJ sounds like a retired military.I see
right thru your better than thou rants and closed mind with not manageable thoughts that were drilled into your closed mind.
This isn't your grandfathers raise the flag and
all is well.Question authority and your tazed
shot or worse.Vietnam taught me that I have
earned my rights and will speak and when your police look like navy seals they'll act
like it.Armorer personel carriers in a town of
11,000? You do the math
They chose to work here because up here it's
much safer with nothing to do except train for
the dreaded parades and biker events.Want
action go find it.

Posted: Wednesday, August 14, 2013
Article comment by: Well stated Bob

The Feed The Fear mentality that has seized this country has got to stop. America, Land Of The Free, has more people in prison than any other country in the world. Billions of dollars is poured into the prison system, yet little is spent on youth crime prevention programs. Cut prison funding, and spend the $$$ on social programs like Boys and Girls Club and expand Head Start.

Posted: Tuesday, August 13, 2013
Article comment by: Bob Loblaw

@ Arthur

I'm sure you feel safe and secure knowing there are cops cruising the beat looking for kids to harass and girls to taze. Most people in Verde Valley don't want or feel the need for a paramilitary police force to protect us from teenage girls shoplifting in Walmart.

It you're really so scared of the wolves, stay in your bunker and count bullets. I've been fortunate enough to have spent a great deal of time working in Mexico and Central America before the U.S. government decided to try prohibition again. I guess the cowards running our country aren't bright enough to learn from history. Before the U.S. corrupted the governments of our neighbors you could walk anywhere in town without fear and maybe even pay a bribe here and there to make things operate smoothly.

It's a shame you find yourself living among real citizens who don't want any part of your police state gestapo tactics. Why don't you move back to Chicago where the likes of you can be truly appreciated. This is the wild, wild west and if you don't like it, LEAVE! My family homesteaded in Arizona 5 generations ago and I can definitely tell you that we don't need cops wearing bullet-proof vests and driving Humvees to make us feel safe.

You sound like someone who lacks the intelligence, guts, fitness, and compassion to ever serve anyone but yourself, and anyone who reads your posts can see right through to know that. It's pretty obvious Arizona is a little too rough for the likes of you

Posted: Tuesday, August 13, 2013
Article comment by: Arthur Johnson

Mr. Loblaw,

You sound like someone who has nobody else in their life who will listen to them so you put your crazy opinions on the internet. How sad for you. Have you or anyone who posts the same garbage as you ever done anything to contribute to society? Most of the people that I have known in law enforcement are fine human beings, sheepdogs who protect the sheep from the wolves. Have you ever been to a country where there is now professionaly police force, Mexico, Iraq, Afghanistan, anywhere? The sheep are constantly being victimized. We have the finest police force in the world right here in the US. Offcier's like this young Marshal could certainly earn more money working in a large city, or for a defense contractor, but thankfully, he and others like him have chosen to serve out community. You sound like a pain to the people in your life, I am glad you are not my neighbor, and it is unfortunate that you are a part of our community. We should be proud of the young Marshal's accomplishment, and thankful that he is out there on patrol for the benefit of us all. The reason that there are not more violent law enforcement confrontations is because of the extensive training, mentoring, and equipment in use by police. The reason circle K clerks have it bad is beacuase they lack the same. You sound like someone who lacks the intelligence, guts, fitness, and compassion to ever serve anyone but yourself, and anyone who reads your posts can see right through to know that. Have a nice day, loser.

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