Oakland SWAT team back in action

June 1, 2009 7:13:41 PM PDT
The Oakland SWAT Team is back in action, more than two months after the deadliest day in the history of the force. Two SWAT officers, Erv Romans and Daniel Sakai, along with two motorcycle cops, were killed by the same man in March.

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Capt. Ed Tracey had asked to be reassigned because some members of his SWAT team expressed a lack of confidence following the deadliest day in Oakland Police Department history. But on Monday, the police chief said Tracey isn't going anywhere.

Oakland SWAT officers recovered drugs and a shotgun during a raid on Reggie Beamon's East Oakland home Friday. He was arrested and posted bail.

It was the SWAT team's first operation since March 21st, when two officers were fatally shot following a routine traffic stop and two more SWAT team members were killed as they stormed the house where the shooter, Lovelle Mixon, was hiding.

"The Oakland Police Department's tactical team is also now ready to assume the role of protecting the citizens of Oakland," said acting Oakland Chief Howard Jordan.

Police Brass announced that Capt. Tracey will continue to be the team's leader, even though he had asked to be reassigned after some SWAT officers said they lost confidence in him in the wake of the shooting.

"I have received my marching orders from my superiors and that is to continue to lead this outstanding SWAT team," said Capt. Tracey.

Tracey faced criticism for staying at the hospital with the grieving families of Officer John Hege and Sgt. Mark Dunakin instead of joining his SWAT team as they stormed the house where Sergeants Erv Romans and Daniel Sakai were killed.

On Monday, Tracey said he doesn't regret the decision, insisting nobody knew yet that the killer was inside the house his SWAT team was preparing to storm.

"At that time this was not deemed to be a SWAT situation as the identity of the shooter was still being developed. In addition, we did not have any concrete information regarding the whereabouts of the suspect," said Tracey.

As for the SWAT team's latest suspect, he says he's paying a price for being the first, after a long hiatus.

"Well they sure made us an example. They are going to show tomorrow when I go to court and they are going to try to make me an example, and I'm not a bad guy," said Beamon.

There are still a number of questions that the department isn't answering about why the SWAT team stormed the house where Mixon was hiding. That's because the police chief said on Monday that there are three other investigations into what happened that day. The result of at least one of them is expected to be made public.

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