Bellevue considers merging city's SWAT team with county

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CASS COUNTY, Iowa (WOWT)-- Could there be another clash tonight within the Bellevue Police Department? The debate this evening is over the SWAT team.

First the history here: The Bellevue Police chief spent a year on the sidelines after a "no confidence" vote from the police union.

Mark Elbert got his job back last fall after the Nebraska Commission on Law Enforcement determined there was no merit to allegations.

The Bellevue City Council was expected to debate merging the BPD SWAT team with Sarpy County's SWAT team.

Chief Elbert supports it, and so do a number of other police chiefs in this county.

Go back 25 years, when Bellevue Police, La Vista Police and Papillion Police collaborated to form the South Metro SWAT team, later expanded to include Plattsmouth and Ralston's police departments as well.

Most of the leadership over the years came from the Bellevue PD.

In trying to convince Bellevue to follow suit, Papillion's chief argued that by merging the South Metro SWAT team with Sarpy County's, they'd be following the best models out there when it comes to pooling resources for training and equipment. The move would also offer more flexibility; after all, Sarpy County already shares a number of law-enforcement resources, such as the jail, crash-reconstruction team, 9-1-1, and the DUI Task Force.

But whenever you talk mergers, it gets territorial.

After all, Bellevue is the state's third-largest city behind Omaha and Lincoln.

Others in the rank and file at BPD may not love the idea but said will not fight it either.