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Cleveland SWAT teams facing new dangers, changing tactics

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CLEVELAND, OH (WOIO) -

The deadly manhunt and standoff involving an ex-cop in California , plus other wild standoffs around the country, lead 19 Action News to look at what's happening with local SWAT teams.

The head of the Cleveland SWAT team says his squad is noticing bad guys have more firepower, and they are changing some tactics.

The Cleveland SWAT unit has been called out this week three nights in a row for standoffs with gunmen. We're told, every year, the city SWAT unit handles 30 to 40 barricaded gunmen or hostage situations. 

SWAT teams are noticing these days many gunmen have more high-powered weapons and police are tweaking how they respond to these situations.

Some city patrol officers now carry high-powered rifles so they can set up on a scene more safely at a greater distance away than the officers with handguns who are handling the call before a SWAT team gets there.

Commander Gary Gingell told 19 Action News, "They can get further away from the scene with the patrol rifles. They can take cover, stay safer, better hidden."

Over the years Cleveland has had its share of unusual SWAT situations including a gunmen at Case Western Reserve University and even at a Cleveland school.

With what's been happening around the country, the city SWAT unit is looking at how units nationwide train.

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