Carbon SWAT team earns compliments for role in manhunt
The Carbon County Sheriff's SWAT team earned high marks for professionalism during the manhunt and capture of fugitive murder suspect Scott Curley in Kanab last week. Seven team members joined about 300 other law enforcement officers in the chase.
Sheriff James Cordova said he had called Kane County Sheriff Lamont Smith on Aug. 27 to express his condolences and offer support after learning that Deputy Brian Harrison had been shot and killed. Harrison had been in Fredonia, Ariz., with another deputy investigating a Kanab burglary when they were ambushed.
The next afternoon, a Saturday, Cordova got a call for help from Smith. Cordova said he assembled half of his SWAT team - seven deputies - and told them they were needed. "They were busy that weekend but they all agreed to drop what they were doing and pack up to go to Kanab for five days," the sheriff said. "The other guys on the team were pretty upset that they didn't get to go, but I told them they'd get their chance in five days if the suspect wasn't caught."
Deputy Mike Hreinson, who led the team, said it is characteristic of SWAT members to want to be involved any time fellow law enforcement officers need help.
Hreinson said the team left Price Sunday morning with the department's mobile command center trailer and several pickup trucks. They had a briefing with local authorities and the FBI at 4 p.m. that afternoon and were assigned to guard the north end of the search perimeter.
"There was a great command structure," Hreinson said, because the National Incident Management System has made real progress over the past nine years. The system is a means of assuring uniform training and communications for first responders.
As an example of the sophistication of the system, Hreinson said his team was called out around midnight to relocate southeast of town and given GPS coordinates of where they were supposed to deploy. The net around Curley had tightened after the FBI surrounded a house that the fugitive had apparently tried to break into.
"We protected the perimeter and also had to search and secure several outbuildings on the property because it wasn't sure exactly where (the suspect) was," the deputy said. Curley surrendered to the FBI SWAT team, saying that he was tired and hungry, Hreinson added.
"I got a call the next day from the FBI Agent In Charge John Wright who wanted to give his kudos to the team. He said he was extremely impressed and grateful," Sheriff Cordova said.
One of the things that impressed the FBI and other teams was that the Carbon crew had certified EMTs assigned. Other teams have medical support, but not as members of the tactical team.