In 2018, deputies responded to 122,931 calls for service, ranging from stolen property to missing persons to more serious threats to public safety. Certain calls may require an additional response beyond what is expected for a typical patrol deputy.
The Washington County Sheriff’s Office Tactical Negotiations Team (TNT, or SWAT) is a highly trained and well-equipped tactical team prepared to address high-risk incidents. The primary mission of this inter-agency team is to conserve public safety during extremely hazardous situations where conventional police tactics and equipment may be inadequate.
TNT responds to calls with the Crisis Negotiation Unit (CNU). This special team works to create peaceful resolutions during volatile situations by establishing ongoing dialogue and rapport with the person or persons in crisis. Both TNT and CNU are inter-agency teams with members from Beaverton, Hillsboro, Tigard, Sherwood and Tualatin police departments, as well as the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) and Tualatin Valley Fire & Rescue (medics).
When a situation escalates and presents a danger to neighborhoods anywhere in Washington County, TNT and CNU respond side-by-side to achieve the safest resolution as possible. Last year, both teams responded to an incident in the City of Beaverton involving a woman and a handgun. Earlier that morning, concerned neighbors called 9-1-1 to report the woman was seen walking outside her home with a handgun in a densely populated neighborhood.
The Beaverton Police Department first responded and attempted to make contact with the woman. Their initial investigation showed the woman shot through her neighbor’s wall but it was unknown if anyone sustained injuries. On-scene officers realized TNT and CNU were necessary to mitigate further risk to the woman, neighborhood and first responders.
TNT operators were initially unsure if the scene would be a rescue of injured people, hostage event, or both. CNU quickly determined the woman was in a mental health crisis and alone inside her home. While CNU worked on contacting and establishing communication with the woman, TNT protected neighbors from potential gunfire.
Eventually, TNT utilized special tactics and technology to implement diversions and safely open the woman’s front door with the intent of establishing a direct line of communication. Shortly after TNT opened her door remotely, the women emerged and surrendered. Nobody was injured and the woman was transported to a medical treatment facility for services.
The partnership between TNT and CNU, as well as the cooperation between the many law enforcement agencies in our area, help maintain Washington County’s status as one of the safest urban counties in Oregon.