NORTH LAS VEGAS (FOX5) -- Barricades, stand-offs, search warrants: when it becomes too dangerous for patrol officers, they call specialized teams for backup.
The North Las Vegas Police Department SWAT team is made up of 15 officers. They’re always on call. When they’re not breaking down doors or serving search warrants, they’re training.
“This is the North Las Vegas Police Department Swat Team. We have a search warrant for your residence please exit the front door with your hands in the air. Do it now,” said one of the officers from inside a bear-cat.
The SWAT team demonstrated a scenario where officers tried to negotiate with an armed suspect. In just seconds, someone can go from talking to shooting.
Officer Jason Lawrence said he won't shoot until the suspect gives him a reason to -- trying to negotiate with someone is a skill of its own.
"If he's like, 'hey, I need to call my lawyer,' or, 'this gun is fake, it's not real,' and he starts pulling it out of his waistband ... we can't wait until he shoots somebody and kills them," he said.
Lawrence said they try non-lethal options first, like K9s and TASERs.
Typically, it's about two to three hours before they're called to a scene, he said. Then, response is another half-hour since the SWAT vehicles can't drive very fast.
Officer Luke Nelson is a breacher.
"I'm kind of strong," he said. They're the team members who break through doors. And no, it's not as easy as it looks.
They don't know what's on the other side. Breaking is a last resort, but once they start, the gig is up.
Team leader Ryan Johnson said they serve 120-160 warrants a year.
"No one is coming, it's up to us."
For anyone interested in joining the team, click here.