OSHKOSH - The Winnebago County Sheriff's Office SWAT team was named best in the state for 2013. It's the second time the team has received this honor in the last decade.
The Winnebago County SWAT officers train an extra 16 hours each month to be ready at a moment's notice. Sheriff John Matz told FOX 11 they've earned this latest recognition.
"We're very proud of what our deputies have accomplished, both last year and in 2003," said Matz.
Matz told us the Wisconsin Association of SWAT Personnel has one criterion for its SWAT Team of the Year Award.
"They're looking for a specific incident where a team acted exemplary," he explained.
This particular incident started with a pharmacy robbery in Wautoma last August. Police say the suspect, Timothy Pawlacyk, led officers on a chase both in a car and on foot and he did so, while shooting at them.
"He moved through some yards, took a patio chair, threw it through a bay window in a residence, climbed inside," said Lieutenant Darin Rice.
No one was home, but that's when a seven hour standoff began.
The Winnebago County Sheriff's Office SWAT Team was called in to lead the command.
"Put a second robot inside and when that door was breached we could see the suspect lying on the floor," Rice explained.
Pawlacyk ended up taking his own life, no officers or civilians were hurt.
Rice told FOX 11 it was challenging to coordinate with four other agencies on that call.
"Hadn't really trained with some of the agencies, didn't really know some of the people that were involved, but we came together and ultimately we had the same goal, we wanted a peaceful resolution," Rice explained.
But even though the Winnebago SWAT team can call itself the best in the state for 2013, they didn't do it alone. The other four agencies are listed on the award.
"It was a very nice recognition of our involvement, but I think, overall, the award was given more for the inter-agency cooperation that took place that night," said Rice.
The Winnebago County SWAT team received the 2003 honor for its involvement in a standoff in Green Lake County. During that incident a Green Lake County sheriff's deputy was shot and killed.