Capt. Sammy O'Keefe
The St. Tammany Parish Sheriff's Office SWAT Team, established in 1980 and originally consisting of twelve members, is currently comprised of twenty specially selected deputies that are on call 24 hours a day, seven days a week. In addition to their regular assigned duties, SWAT operators train as a team twice monthly to enhance the skills and abilities of each individual. Development of close quarters combat tactics and firearms proficiencies under stressful conditions are emphasized. These individuals possess such positive qualities as independence of mind, self-discipline, motivation and physical stamina in adverse conditions. SWAT operators are highly trained in the use of firearms, less than lethal weapons, chemical munitions, explosive breaching and tactics for the purpose of handling high-risk incidents. The St. Tammany Parish Sheriff's Office SWAT Team handles barricaded suspects, hostage situations, active shooter incidents, high-risk arrests/search warrant service, and various other situations requiring their specialized training and expertise.
A Crisis Negotiation Team is assigned when the situation warrants. Components of the SWAT Team consist of Entry Teams, Arrest Teams, Sniper Element, Breaching Element, Hostage Negotiators, the Hazardous Disposal Unit and a Paramedic Team. The Crisis Negotiator Team (CNT) directly supports SWAT operations by providing suicide intervention, hostage negotiations, and intelligence through effective communications. Each negotiator is certified after attending a three phase hostage negotiations and crisis intervention course and serves in a part time capacity like those on SWAT and HDU
The mission of the Hazardous Disposal Unit (HDU) is to render safe and efficient disposal of explosive devices, suspicious packages, weapons of mass destruction and other hazardous items. The four members of HDU, like S.W.A.T., are on call 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Their responsibilities on HDU are secondary duties to their primary job assignment. Each HDU technician is specially trained by the FBI at their Hazardous Devices School at Redstone Arsenal in Huntsville, Alabama and often support our federal partners and neighboring jurisdictions through mutual aid requests.
St. Tammany Parish has 279 square miles of navigable waterways – approximately one fourth of the entire parish. The Marine Division consists of 14 full-time deputies whose primary responsibility is to patrol those waterways and enforce state and local boating regulations as well as to promote safe boating practices. In order to patrol the wide variety of waterways within the parish, the Sheriff’s Office maintains a fleet of vessels consisting of coastal patrol boats, aluminum flat boats ranging from 12 feet to 21 feet, personal watercraft, and an ARGO amphibious all-terrain vehicle. Deputies working in the Marine Division have received specialized training in water rescues and special tactics to be used in watercraft. Deputies are subject to call out 24 hours a day / 7 days a week for emergencies such as lost boaters, disabled vessels and accidents.
The St. Tammany Parish Sheriff's Office Dive Team has the responsibility of searching for and recovering submerged vehicles and other underwater evidence. The team also conducts hull and port sweepsfor contraband and/or dangerous devices. Members specialize in working in black water with little or no visibility and are also capable of working in HAZMAT conditions. The Dive Team, which normally consists of 10 divers, is available for diving 24 hours a day / 7 days a week. Occasionally, the team is tasked with helping other agencies both inside and outside our parish.
The St. Tammany Parish Sheriff’s Office Air Wing consists of a 1969 Bell OH-58 helicopter, three pilots, and four tactical flight officers. The aircraft is outfitted with a state of the art thermal imaging system (FLIR) and a night sun spot lighting system. The air wing complements the Criminal Patrol, Corrections and Marine divisions in assisting in searches for lost subjects, fleeing criminals, and escaped prisoners. Deputies assigned to the Air Wing are subject to call out 24 hours a day / 7 days a week.