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Town of Tonawanda temporarily suspends SWAT team

Posted at 2:56 PM, Feb 18, 2019
and last updated 2019-02-18 18:22:28-05

TOWN OF TONAWANDA, N.Y. (WKBW) — Town of Tonawanda Police announced full SWAT team operations were temporarily suspended on February 13th.

This announcement comes days after the Town of Tonawanda Board recommended Officer Howard Scholl III, be fired from the Town of Tonawanda Police.

Scholl is being investigated by the police department and the Erie County District Attorney's Office following an off-duty crash last month.

Police say the SWAT team is a part-time team comprised of patrol officers, detectives and staff officers that train together in order to respond to critical incidents on short notice.

In an email, TTPD stated any SWAT call will now be handled with a partial team of tactical officers unless a full tactical team is needed.

"We will be reconstituting the full SWAT Team this coming year when we can fully get our SWAT Team to minimum manpower standards. In the interim, we have enough tactical team members to address any emergency where tactical officers are required in the Town of Tonawanda and also have arrangements in place should we require additional police assets."

Regarding the investigation of officer Scholl, police released this statement:

"Regarding the SWAT dinner at Sinatra’s, the only concerns we needed to address were the actions of Officer Scholl that occurred after the dinner. Internal discipline regarding SWAT members or any of our officers remains a confidential and personnel matter. The Chief has full confidence in our agency and officers to safeguard public safety."

A 12-year veteran of the TTPD, Corey Flatau, was also arrested for DWI in late December.

7 Eyewitness News has confirmed Scholl III and Flatau were members of the TTPD SWAT team and this decision to suspend full SWAT team operations is a direct result of the two of them being suspended.