Victim of Botched Pr. Geo.'s Raid Pushes SWAT Bill
Berwyn Heights Mayor Cheye Calvo is in Annapolis today, advocating for legislation he helped craft that require state police agencies to issue monthly reports about their use of SWAT teams.
In July, Calvo's two dogs were shot and killed by members of a Prince George's Sheriff's Department SWAT team when his house was stormed in a botched drug raid. The Sheriff's SWAT team was called in because the Prince George's Police Deparment's squad was busy elsewhere.
Law enforcement officials have acknowledged that Calvo and his wife Trinity Tomsic were unwitting victims of a drug smuggling scheme that used FedEx drivers to ship pot and that they knew nothing about a drug-filled box delivered to their home. The case attracted national attention and outrage.
Calvo said he believes police forces are using SWAT teams, paramilitary organizations, more and more often for ordinary police work. But he said he's been surprised to learn how difficult it is to get reliable statistics about how often teams are deployed, where, why and with what result.
The bill, which is being sponsored by Sen. C. Anthony Muse (D-Prince George's) in the senate and Del. Kris Valderrama (D-Prince George's) in the House of Delegates, would require that any police agency with SWAT team report on its usage monthly, a necessary first step to public debate on the topic, Calvo said.
"I see it as a good government proposal," Calvo said.
February 4, 2009; 9:52 AM ET
Categories: General Assembly , Prince George's County , Rosalind Helderman
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