In 1968 the first SWAT (Special Weapons And Tactics) Team was established by the LA Police Dept. under Chief Daryl Gates. The purpose was driven by the need to create specialized units that were trained in handling high risk incidents such as Hostage Rescues, Barricaded gunman, Search Warrants, Arrest Warrants and Riots. In 1974 under the direction of Sheriff Forest (Nick) Jewell the Berrien County Sheriff SWAT team was created. The original team members were sent to the FBI academy in Quantico, Virginia for their training. Since then over 60 personnel have served or is currently active within the team. The Berrien County Sheriff's Office changed its name from SWAT to the TRU (Tactical Response Unit) in the mid 90's.
Since the original 5 team members of 1974, the TRU now has an authorized strength of 22 members. The team also incorporates members from other agencies within Berrien County by a cooperative memorandum of understanding. The Unit is led by one Team leader and two Squad leaders.
The TRU is tasked with the same responses that were needed back in 1968 along with increasing responsibilities in the changing world climate. The threat of terrorist activity, school shootings, and Civil unrest has forced these specialized teams to work very diligently in meeting the threat and sophistication of today's criminal tactics. The Berrien County Sheriff's Office is dedicated in staying current with these challenges and providing its special teams with the resources and training they need.
The Berrien County Sheriff's Office Tactical Response Unit trains on a regular basis to maintain skills and fulfill annual training tasks that meet and exceed operational goals required inter-departmentally and also meeting state and federal requirements. The TRU also trains and performs joint operations with other Local Law Enforcement, FBI and the Michigan State Police Tactical Teams.