"We don’t have an active SWAT team now and the equipment that it would take to run a legitimate SWAT team—we don't have what's needed. What we are trying to do is see if the community and the public are willing to help us purchase the stuff because of the limited resources we have with the county," said Bolivar County Sheriff Kelvin Williams.
While the BCSD does not have enough funds to get the proper materials needed for this project, the sheriff is hopeful that they will be able to reach their goal through fundraising.
Daniel Gresham, Bolivar County investigator, has visited different organizations throughout the community to bring awareness to the importance of having a SWAT team.
"He's put together a PowerPoint presentation to show the need of a SWAT team for this county and the effectiveness of a particular SWAT team," said Williams.
When Gresham began looking into having an official SWAT team for Bolivar County, he realized that there is a great need for equipment.
The current equipment is outdated, with vests over 10 years old and helmets over 20 years old.
"It was just so far behind and it is not anywhere it needs to be for safety reasons,” Gresham. "It is equipment intensive. Vests have to be up to standard. Weapons have to be up to standard.
"We are looking at having to almost start from scratch and it takes a lot of funding to fully outfit the SWAT team," said Gresham.
Gresham estimated that one vest and one sub gun cost roughly $1,500 each, while helmets are around $600 each.
"This is expensive equipment and as you can see it adds up," said Gresham.
The group will not only need to have enough ammunition on hand for actual calls but for training too.
The SWAT team will also eventually need a vehicle to transport the entire team at once.
"The reason why is because we are serving high risk warrants in the county. We've had to make do and do the best we can," said Gresham.
While Cleveland and Bolivar County currently have response teams, they don't have officers that are properly trained.
"The training and the equipment is a safety issue for them, and it's a safety issue for the suspect. The more we know what we're doing and the better equipped we are, the more likely it is that we will take them into custody," said Gresham.
The closest SWAT team to Bolivar County is in Tunica, another reason Gresham feels the need to assemble a SWAT team.
"You hope for the best and prepare for the worst,” he said.
“It would be at least an hour and a half before they can get their stuff together and get down here, and that's being generous with the time,” Gresham continued. “In any kind of active shooting situation like that, it gets worse as time goes on. The studies that have been done on those is to get there, respond, and neutralize the suspect as quickly as possible and right now we don't have that capability."
Gresham estimated that to get nine SWAT team members combat ready would cost around $20,000-$25,000.
"I'm willing to work with anyone in the community," said Gresham.
Gresham and the BCSD will continue to promote and raise awareness for a SWAT team in Bolivar County.