SWAT Teams are utilized for a variety of missions due to their versatility, skill and training.
High-Risk Warrant Service
SWAT is utilized for high-risk warrant service when the probability exists
for violence. High risk warrant service includes arrest warrants, forced
entry warrants, and even mental health warrants. Special circumstances must
exist for a team to be called in to serve these warrants such as suspects
with violent histories, suspects with known weapons, weapons present at a
location, and the suspects own propensity for violence. The team may serve
warrants in parto uniforms by "knock and announce" methods, or in full tactical
gear using dynamic entry methods.
Hostage Rescue and barricaded suspect opertions are another primary SWAT
operation. In hostage rescues, SWAT is utilized after negotiations have
broken down or if there is an imminent threat to life and will typically
wait hours for negotiators to resolve the incident before acting. While
negotiators are working, SWAT operators constantly monitor and evaluate
the situation, prepare for possible sceanrios, use sniper/observer teams
and scouts to gather new intelligence, and stay in contact with the negotiators.
If an emminate threat to life exists, SWAT will not wait for negotiators
and will take the necessary steps to resolve the situation as quickly as
SWAT operators may be called upon to perform surveillance operations in both
active and passive settings. Active setting include hostage/barricade scenes
where a fully equipped and armed surveillance team sets up to monitor suspect
activity inside a building. The team may be called upon to take action to
preserve life during such an operation. Another example could include a team
setting up to monitor a location with a high level of narcotics trafficing or
where the entry team is preparing to enter.
A passive setting could be a marina
where a team in civilian clothes would pose as fishermen, divers,
etc. to watch a suspected narcotics trafficing operation. The operators may
be lightly armed, carrying weapons and equipment in dive bags or coolers to
blend in. SWAT sniper/observer teams may be called on to conduct covert surveillance
for a variety of agencies because of their ability to get in and out of locations
undetected, react quickly and appropriately if needed, and take note of details.
SWAT Team members are also called upon to participate in dignitary protection
assignments. SWAT operators are a natural choice for this type of duty due
to their ability to plan, prepare for, and anticipate threats. These requirements
are part of all missions that SWAT teams conduct. SWAT operators may be called in to
serve in plain clothes or in full tactical gear. Operators may be directly
responsible for security to the principal, provide tactical support for the
security detail, cover for transports, or a combination of all of the above.
Undercover Operations Support
Providing tactical support for undercover (UC) operations is another mission
of SWAT. They may be requested to provide arrest teams, surveillance, or
be on tactical stand-by. Teams may be frequently requested to participate in
this type of operation because of their ability to provide an immediate and accurate
response if a UC officer is compromised or take hostage. SWAT Operator discipline and focus
often make the difference when trying to resolve a rapidly changing dynamic situation.
Because of their specialized training, SWAT operators are often called upon
to train other officers within their department. This training may include
everything from teaching basic officer survival in a police academy to advanced
weapons training for patrol officers. Since training dictates response, SWAT teams
take every opportunity to train each other, train with other teams, train with
military units, and are constantly looking for new ideas.
For SWAT operators, training opportunities include teaching and training at several
different levels, from classroom work to field operations. Some training SWAT
conducts may include such courses as:
- Police Academy Courses - Arrest techniques, building searches, firearms, defensive tactics.
- Law Enforcement Diving - Search and Rescue and Tactical Maritime Operations
- Basic Tactical Operations
- Intermediate Tactical Operations
- Advanced Tactical Operations
- Hostage Rescue
- Basic through Advanced Marksmanship
- Law Enforcement Sniping