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The Northwest Regional SWAT team hopes the new year might bring more financial assistance for the group.

Merrillville police Sgt. Bob Morgan, the commander of the tactical team, said Northwest Regional SWAT generates its funding through an annual SWAT school it hosts.

That money typically is enough to support its expenses during its fiscal year, but the tactical team needs additional funds to replace outdated equipment it uses.

A throw phone is among the items the team wants to replace, Morgan said. The device is used to communicate with a barricaded subject.

Schererville police detective cCmdr. Mike Vode, an assistant commander of the SWAT team, said he hopes residents or groups will provide donations to help Northwest Regional SWAT.

Morgan said the team also will plan fundraisers after the new year.

Northwest Regional SWAT includes officers from Merrillville, Crown Point, Schererville, Dyer, Griffith, Hobart and Lowell.

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The team provides a way to offer SWAT services in those communities so Police Departments from those municipalities don't have to fund SWAT services on their own.

Morgan said there are some initial costs for departments when they add officers to the group.

Each police department is required to supply each officer it has on the team with a ballistic vest, helmet and M-4 rifle, he said.

If the departments can't provide those items immediately, Northwest Regional SWAT can loan them to those officers.

The tactical team supplies other equipment and handles the other operating expenses for the group, Morgan said.

People interested in donating to the Northwest Regional SWAT team can contact Morgan at (219) 769-3531 or Vode and Schererville Officer Bill Bednar, another assistant commander of the SWAT team, at (219) 322-5000.

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