Boynton Beach police swat team will stay intact, union chief says

BOYNTON BEACH, Fla. - UPDATE:  The Boynton Beach police swat team will stay intact.

The head of the local police union says Chief Jeffrey Katz was able to keep the swat team together in a last-minute meeting.

John Kazanjian with the Police Benevolent Association said because of a report on wptv.com and NewsChannel 5, Boynton Beach Police Chief Jeffrey Katz called an emergency meeting with the swat team that lasted until 2 a-m.

Kazanjian says the chief asked swat members not to resign from their positions.

Kazanjian says it was a done deal and resignation letters were already sitting on a captain’s desk but the chief was able to convince most of them to stay.

Kazanjian says three swat members decided to resign. "Your reporting initiated the meeting with the Boynton Beach Swat members… which by the end of the night, three left and all stayed."

A request for comment received this response:  The city manager is unavailable.  There will be no interviews for the issue you are referring to, as it was a personnel matter that has been resolved internally within the department. 

-Reported by Marissa Bagg

EARLIER STORY:

There is turmoil being reported within the Boynton Beach Police Department on the heels of contentious contract negotiations and reorganization within the SWAT team.

WPTV NewsChannel 5 has learned that perhaps more than half of the 20 plus member SWAT team may turn in memos of resignation on Friday.

The friction extends back to October, when contract negotiations began. They came to a head earlier this week when a separate reorganization dispute hit the SWAT team.

Chief Jeffrey Katz confirms to NewsChannel 5 that three sergeants were reassigned Tuesday. The chief says there were 8 sergeants on the 26 man unit and that was simply too many. He also says this is part of reform he feels is necessary within the department. Chief Katz stressed that despite a city report suggesting otherwise, that he believes a SWAT team is a necessary part of his team.

Multiple sources familiar with the situation contend that this is all a case of months long, simmering negotiations over new contracts. Those sources also tell us that SWAT team members believe at least one key member of the SWAT team did not deserve to be removed.

Both sides stress that public safety is not in question. Chief Katz says as of Thursday night the team had enough team members should a situation arise. Further, if he needed more help, agreements that are in place with neighboring agencies would kick in.   

WPTV NewsChannel 5 and wptv.com will continue to follow this developing story.

Reported by wptv.com web team

 


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