SWAT (Special Weapons and Tactics)
The EPSO S.W.A.T. Team consists consists of 17 members and all are highly motivated, trained and excel at performing very specialized missions under extremely stressful circumstances, sometimes with very little advance notice. Each team member possesses a variety of skills and experience. When brought together, these members function as a single unit within a team concept, which allows missions to be completed thoroughly and safely.
The S.W.A.T. Team’s primary objective is to ensure the safety of all persons involved in any mission in which the S.W.A.T. Team is deployed. Concern for the public’s safety, as well as the team's safety, cannot be stressed enough as the S.W.A.T. Team executes its missions.
Examples of missions which would commonly involve S.W.A.T. include, but are not limited to:
- High Risk Warrant Service
- Fugitive Apprehension
- Hostage Situations
- Barricaded Subjects
- Dignitary Protection
- High Profile Events (Example: AFA Graduations)
The team member selection process involves multiple components. Prior to participating in a competitive oral board examination, each potential team member must demonstrate excellent weapons handling skills and pass a rigorous physical assessment. Only those personnel who excel in all aspects of the testing process will be selected to join the team. Members are expected to maintain their skills, weapons proficiency and physical conditioning throughout their assignment to the team. The team accomplishes this by training two days per month, which includes 10 hours of firearms training and 10 hours of mission relevant training. During two months of the year, the team conducts a 40 hour training week which allows them to saturate or build upon training components to maintain a high level of readiness. They qualify with all assigned weapons quarterly and pass a physical evaluation yearly.
The S.W.A.T. Team hosts a 50 hour Basic S.W.A.T. School once per year and invites potential team members from our Sheriff’s Office family, as well as members from surrounding agencies to include military bases. During the training, attendees are given the basic skills of a tactical operator which will serve as the foundation for their work with their respective teams and generally enhance their abilities as a law enforcement officer.
S.W.A.T. members make up a large portion of the Instructor Cadre for the EPSO Recruit Academy, as well as In-Service Training.