May 29, 2024

The Pizen Switch Times

Established 2021

Sheriff Pope’s Message of the Week: April 26, 2024

Sheriff Pope’s Message of the Week 04/26/2024

The Lyon County Sheriff’s Office SWAT Team in an intricate part of our Departments function. The successful deployments of our SWAT Team have deescalated, contained and resolved multiple violent situations peacefully throughout Lyon County since its founding. Members of the SWAT are selected through a vigorous testing process, and train two days a month, and one week a year.

Today, the SWAT Team consists of 15 part time operators, a tactical medic and Team Commander. They respond to incidents in Lyon County, but through mutual aid agreements are also available to respond to Mineral County, Storey County and Churchill County.

The Lyon County Sheriff’s Office SWAT Team was created by Sheriff Gene Wilhelm following the line of duty death of Lyon County Deputy George Rice in Smith Valley in 1984. The team was designed to provide advanced equipment, tactics and training to high risk situations in a more rapid fashion than previous available in the rural communities of Lyon County. Previously, response times for these resources would generally take several hours putting both our citizens and deputies lives at a higher risk for prolonged periods of time.

We are often asked how often the SWAT Team is deployed. Over the past 10 years, the team has averaged 4 calls for service per year in Lyon County, but assist with numerous other incidents regionally. These incidents are situations that exceed the scope of general patrol or detention duties and include, but are not limited to high risk search warrants, active assailants and armed barricaded suspects.

The Lyon County SWAT Team belongs to the National Tactical Officer’s Association (NTOA) and trains to national standards as outline by the NTOA. The Team stays current on national trends and incidents to ensure they are providing our citizens with the best chance of a positive outcome during these incidents and to accomplish their number one mission, to save lives.

In 2022, the Lyon County Sheriff’s Office partnered with the City of Fernley to obtain a new armored vehicle for the team. This vehicle was selected based on several criteria, including a move away from a military style vehicle and to a vehicle designed specifically for law enforcement operations. This new vehicle expanded the number of personnel it would carry and allows access for medical equipment in the event for the rescue and recovery of persons experiencing a medical emergency or needing extraction from a hostile area.

Our SWAT Team is an embodiment of the Sheriff’s Office motto, “To Protect and Serve”.

Sheriff Brad Pope