Indiana State Police
In the spring of 2003, several Indiana SWAT Commanders and tactical officers attended Fourkiller Consulting’s SWAT Commanders course in Kokomo, Indiana. This course was hosted by Captain Larkin Fourkiller of the Kokomo Police Department SWAT Team and featured retired Los Angeles Police Department SWAT Team member and National Tactical Officers Association (NTOA) Board member, Ron McCarthy.
At the conclusion of this training, these Commanders and senior tactical officers decided to try and establish a professional tactical officers association for the state of Indiana. Over the next few months these future Indiana SWAT Officers Association members contacted various tactical associations throughout the country. With the assistance of these associations, the Indiana SWAT Officers Association was created.
The reasons for the creation of the association were two-fold. First and foremost, was to advance the education and professionalism of law enforcement officers involved in tactical operations through the transfer of ideas and information. Secondly, to further improve the “networking” of agencies and personnel involved in critical incidents and high risk operations.
Recently, the Indiana SWAT Officers Association held their annual conference in Indianapolis and presented Indiana State Police Special Operations Lieutenant Mark Tow with the Lifetime Achievement Award.
Below is the Lifetime Nomination letter drafted by Special Operations First Sergeant Corey Culler.
On November 16, 1986, after having been a proud member of the United States Marine Corps, Mark Tow swore another oath to protect and defend the Constitutions of the United States and the State of Indiana when he became an Indiana State Trooper. After his appointment to the Department, Trooper Tow earned a spot on Area III’s Emergency Response Team in 1988. During his time on Team III, Mark was a sniper, entry element leader, and an assistant team leader.
In 1998, when the 5 Area teams merged to form the three teams in existence today, Mark became the team leader of the South. He also became a squad sergeant at the District level.
In 2008, Mark was promoted to First Sergeant, and was reassigned to Special Operations in a full time SWAT program. In 2013, Mark was promoted to Lieutenant in Special Operations and manages SWAT, EOD, SCUBA, and K9 Sergeants.
Lieutenant Tow has had a busy SWAT career that spans 28 years and counting. He has been involved in 1000s of barricades, high risk warrant services, and many successful hostage rescues. Mark Tow is the recipient of three (3) Combat Action Awards while with SWAT. Combat Action Awards are awarded to individuals for courageous “at risk” performance of duty to include the use of and/or defense against life threatening physical force.
In 1998, an armed suspect was located at I64 at the 86mm in a wooded area. Suspect fires a shotgun at SWAT and is shot by multiple units and did not survive his wounds.
June 1, 2005 Shelbyville Big Foot gas station Hostage Rescue under gunfire. Hostage is saved and the suspect is killed.
In 2015, Owen County had a pursuit with an armed drug addict/dealer. ISP SWAT deploys armor and attempts to negotiate a surrender. Suspect fires a round out the window then steps out of the vehicle, refusing to drop his gun. When he aims at SWAT, he is shot and does not survive.
On 3-31-16 while assisting the Speedway Police Department and brother SWAT officers, Lt. Tow was again involved in a deadly force incident with a suspect armed with a shotgun. After hours of negotiations, the suspect refused to surrender and at one moment, pointed his shotgun at the officer on perimeter as an arrest team. He was shot multiple times but survived his wounds because SWAT officers provided him with immediate trauma care. This will be the fourth Combat Action Award for Lt. Tow.
Lt. Tow has always been focused on the tactical side of police work. He believes in training to ones highest potential, working with other agencies, and sharing information in tactical circles will make us all better. He always says that when you want a problem solved, send in a tactical SWAT cop because they will know what to do or find a solution most rik tik.
“Lt. Tow has been a contributing member of the Emergency Response Team (ERT) or Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) teams for nearly three decades,” said Assistant Commander of Indiana State Police Special Operations Captain David Travis. “His tactical skills and vast experience are unparalleled and the Department is very fortunate to have such a dedicated and experienced Tactical Commander.
Lt. Tow has two grown children. He and his wife reside in Sullivan County.
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News Writer: Lucy Pery PHONE: 317-527-4141