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Special Weapons & Tactics | SWAT

Special Weapons and Tactics teams (SWAT) are special operations units in civilian law enforcement agencies such as County Police Departments, Sheriff Departments, US Marshall service, the FBI etc. The SWAT team of a given agency may be called the Special Response Team, Emergency Response Team, Emergency Services Unit, Tactical Response Team among others.

SWAT Teams - Role & Training

The exact duties differ depending on the agency and jurisdiction involved although all SWAT units can be characterized as being roled with carrying out high risk operations that would normally be outside of the regular law agency's capabilities.

  • active shooters
    (dealing with shooting sprees)
  • dealing with barricaded suspects
  • hostage rescue scenarios
  • counter terrorism scenarios
  • protection of VIPs
  • high-risk arrests and searches
  • riot control
 
official DoD video produced by Spc. David Bonnell | released to public domain

Civilian SWAT units are analogous in role and tactics to military police tactical teams such as the USMC Special Reaction Team and Air Force Emergency Services Team.

SWAT officers undergo a number of training courses which may include close quarters combat (CQC), explosive entry, sniping, dog handling, negotation techniques and rapelling / fast roping.

SWAT Team - Organization

Size and composition of a SWAT team varies. SWAT teams are typically formed by Law Enforcement Officers serving regular duties who are also on call for SWAT tasking. Many SWAT teams deploy 2 distinct elements on an operation - an entry team tasked with entering and clearing an objective and a sniper / oberserver team that provides overwatch.

SWAT Team - Weapons & Equipment

SWAT team weapons vary from unit to unit. Entry Teams are typically armed with:

  • assault rifle carbines
    AR-15 variants like the M4a1, CQBR, Colt Commando
    Sig Sauger 551 / 552
    HK G36K / G36C

  • sub machine guns
    9mm HK MP5
    10mm MP510
    .40 / .45 HK UMP
    5.7mm FN P90

  • semi-automatic pistols
    Glock and Sig Sauer 9mm and.40 S&W pistols are common, as are
    H&K USPs and
    Beretta 92F 9mm
    Colt 1911 .45acp pistols.

SWAT weapons are often fitted with tactical accessories such as flash lights, laser pointers, foregrips and various optics.

Tactical gear carried by SWAT teams includes flashbang stun grenades, battering rams, haligan tools, ballistic shields, tactical radios and flexi-cuffs. Clothing includes body armor, protective helmets and eye wear, assault webbing for holding magazines, knee pads, gloves and rappeling harnesses.

FBI SWAT
FBI SWAT Team enters and clears a building during training. more info: FBI SWAT teams
U.S. DoD photo


more SWAT team photos

List of United States SWAT Teams

The following is a list of many of the SWAT units within United States law enforcement agencies, including links to photos and info to selected units.
(list taken from wikipedia, used under creative commons license).

Federal Agencies
United States Department of Energy
  • Special Response Teams (SRT)
  • Special Response Force (SRF)
United States Department of Homeland Security
  • Customs and Border Protection (CBP)
    • Office of Field Operations (OFO) - Special Response Teams (SRT)
    • US Border Patrol (USBP) - Special Operations Group
    • USBP San Diego Sector - BORTAC (formerly REACT)
    • USBP - Special Response Teams (SRT)
  • Federal Protective Service (FPS) - Special Response Teams
  • Immigration and Customs Enforcement  (ICE)
    • Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) - Special Response Teams (SRT)
    • Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO) - Special Response Teams (SRT)
    • Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO) - Tactical Intervention and Control (TIAC) Teams
  • Coast Guard
  • United States Secret Service
    • Counter Sniper (CS) Team
    • US Secret Service Uniform Division (UD) - Emergency Response Team (ERT)
    • US Secret Service - Counter Assault Team (CAT)
United States Department of Justice

United States Department of State

  • Bureau of Diplomatic Security - Office of Mobile Security Deployments (MSD)

United States Department of Treasury

  • United States Mint Police - Special Response Teams (SRT)

National Park Service

  • Yellowstone Special Response Team (SRT)
  • Western Region Special Response Team
  • Special Events and Tactics Team
  • US Park Police - Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) Team
Independent Federal Agencies
  • Amtrak Police - Mobile Tactical Unit (MTU)
  • CIA Security Protective Service (SPS) - Special Response Team (SRT)
  • National Security Agency Police Department - Special Response Team (SRT)
  • Pentagon Force Protection Agency
    • Pentagon Police Directorate - Emergency Response Team (ERT)
  • United States Capital Police - Containment Emergency Response Team (CERT)
  • United States Federal Reserve System - Special Response Team (SRT)
State Agencies
  • Division of Alaska State Troopers (AST) - Special Emergency Response Team (SERT)
  • Arizona Department of Public Safety Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) District
  • California Highway Patrol - Special Weapons And Tactics (SWAT) Team
  • California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation - Special Emergency Response Team (SERT)
  • Connecticut State Police - State Police Tactical Unit (SPTU)
  • Delaware State Police - Special Operations Response Team (SORT)
  • Georgia Counter-Terrorism Task Force (CTTF) (Multi-agency tactical team)
  • Georgia State Patrol - Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) Team
  • Illinois State Police - Tactical Response Team (TRT)
  • Indiana State Police - Emergency Response Team (ERT)
  • Florida Highway Patrol - Tactical Response Teams (TRT)
  • Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) - Special Operations Teams (SOT)
  • Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission - Special Operations Group (FWCSOG)
  • Kentucky Department of Corrections - Corrections Emergency Response Team (CERT)
  • Louisiana State Police - Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) Team
  • Maine State Police - Tactical Team
  • Maryland Department of Natural Resources Special Operations Division Tactical Response Team
  • Maryland State Police - Special Tactical Assault Team Element (STATE)
  • Maryland State Police - Tactical Medical Unit
  • Maryland Transportation Authority Police - Special Response Team (SRT)
  • Maryland Transit Administration Police - Visible Intermodal Prevention and Response (VIPR) Teams/Tactical Unit (formerly Special Response Team - SRT)
  • Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority Police - Special Operations Team (SOT)
  • Massachusetts State Police - Special Tactical Operations Team (STOP)
  • Michigan State Police - Emergency Support Team (EST)
  • New Hampshire Division of State Police - Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) Unit
  • New Jersey State Police - Technical Emergency And Mission Specialists (TEAMS) Unit
  • New Jersey Transit Police - Emergency Services Unit (ESU)
  • New Jersey Transit Police - Conditions Tactical Unit (CTU)
  • New Mexico State Police - Tactical Team
  • New York State Police - Special Operations Response Team (SORT)
  • North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation (SBI) - Special Response Team (SRT)
  • Ohio State Highway Patrol - Special Response Team (SRT)
  • Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Corrections - Special Response Team (SRT) & Special Tactics and Response (STAR)
  • Oklahoma Highway Patrol Tactical Team
  • Oregon State Police - Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) Team
  • Pennsylvania State Police - Special Emergency Response Team (SERT)
  • Port Authority Police Department (PAPD) – Emergency Services Unit (ESU)
  • Rhode Island State Police - Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) Team
  • South Carolina Law Enforcement Division (SLED) - Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) Team
  • Tennessee Highway Patrol - Special Operations Unit (SOU)
  • Texas Department of Public Safety, Ranger Division - Ranger Recon Teams (RRT)
  • Texas Department of Public Safety, Ranger Division - Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) Team
  • Texas Department of Public Safety - Special Response Teams (SRT)
  • Utah Highway Patrol - Special Emergency Response Team (SERT)
  • Vermont State Police - Tactical Services Unit
  • Virginia State Police - Tactical Response Teams (TRT)
  • Washington State Patrol Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) Team
Local/County Agencies
  • Alexandria Police Department - Special Operations Team (SOT)
  • Anchorage Police Department - Special Weapons and Tactics(SWAT) Team
  • Arlington County Police Department - Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) Unit
  • Atlanta Police Department - Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) Unit
  • Atlantic City Police Department Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) Team
  • Atlantic County, NJ, Emergency Response Team (ACERT) (Muli-Agency team)
  • Austin Police Department - Special Weapons And Tactics (SWAT) Team
  • Bakersfield Police Department - Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) Team
  • Baltimore Police Department - Quick Reaction Team (QRT)
  • Baltimore County Police Department - Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) Team
  • Bay Area Rapid Transit District Police Department - SWAT Team
  • Beverly Hills Police Department - Special Weapons And Tactics (SWAT) Team
  • Berkeley County Police Department - Special Response Team (SRT)
  • Broward County, Florida, Sheriff's Office - Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) Team
  • Buena Park Police Department - Special Weapons And Tactics (SWAT) Team
  • Central Massachusetts Law Enforcement Council (CEMLEC) - SWAT Team (Multi-jurisdiction regional team)
  • Capital Region Emergency Services Team (CREST) - (Multi-jurisdiction regional Team)
  • Cape Cod Regional Law Enforcement Council (CCLEC) - SWAT Team (Multi-jurisdiction team)
  • Central New Hampshire Special Operations Unit (CNHSOU)(Multi-Jurisdiction team)
  • Charleston County Sheriff's Department - Special Weapons And Tactics (SWAT) Team
  • Charleston Police Department - Special Weapons And Tactics (SWAT) Team
  • Chattanooga Police Department - Special Weapons And Tactics (SWAT)
  • Chesapeake Police Department - SWAT Team
  • Chicago Police Department - SWAT Team
  • Cincinnati Police Department - SWAT Team
  • Cleveland Division of Police - Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) Unit
  • Clovis Police Department's Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) team
  • Cobb County, Georgia, Police Department - Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) Team
  • Cobb County, Georgia, Sheriff's Office - Tactical Operations Unit (TOU)
  • Colorado Springs Police Department - Tactical Enforcement Unit (TEU)
  • Columbus Division of Police - Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) Section
  • Cook County, Illinois, Sheriff's Police - Hostage Barricade and Terrorist (HBT)
  • Corona Police Department - S.W.A.T. Team
  • Cumberland County Sheriff's Office - Special Response Team
  • Dallas Police Department - Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) Team
  • Denver Police Department - Special Weapons And Tactics (SWAT) Team
  • Detroit Police Department - Special Response Team (SRT)
  • Duplin County Sheriff's Office Special Response Team (SRT)
  • Escondido Police Department - Tactical Operations Unit (TOU)
  • Fairfax County Police Department - Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) Team
  • Fiarfax County Sheriff's Office - Sheriff's Emergency Response Team (SERT)
  • Fulton County, Georgia, Police Department - Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) Team
  • Fulton County, Georgia, Sheriff's Office - Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) Team
  • Garden Grove Police Department - Special Weapons & Tactics (SWAT) Team
  • Gwinnett County, Georgia, Police Dept. - Special Weapons And Tactics (SWAT) Team
  • Gwinnett County, Georgia, Sheriff's Office - Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) Team
  • Hampton, Virigina, Police Department - Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) Team
  • Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office - Tactical Response Team (TRT)
  • Hillsborough County Fire Rescue - Medical Emergency Response Team (MERT)
  • Houston Police Department - Special Weapons And Tactics (SWAT) Team
  • Indianapolis Police Department - Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) Team
  • Kern County Sheriff Department - Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) Team
  • Lamar County Special Response Team (SRT)
  • Long Beach Police Department - Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) Team
  • Lowndes County Sheriff's Office - Special Response Team
  • Los Angeles Airport Police - Emergency Services Unit (ESU)
  • Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department (LASD) - Special Enforcement Detail (SED)/Special Weapons Team
  • LAPD - Special Weapons And Tactics (SWAT) Team
  • Los Angeles School Police Department - Special Response Team (SRT)
  • Maricopa County Sheriff's Office - Tactical Operations Unit (TOU)
  • Marietta Police Department - Special Response Team (SRT)
  • Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority Police Department - Special Response Team (SRT)
  • Miami-Dade Police Department - Special Response Team (SRT)
  • Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority (MARTA) Police Department - Special Operations Response Team (SORT)
  • Montgomery Police Department – Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) Team
  • Montgomery County Police Department (Maryland) – Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) Unit
  • Nashville Metro Police Department - Special Weapons And Tactics (SWAT) Team
  • Navajo Nation Tribal Police - Special Operations Unit (SOU)
  • Newark Police Department - Emergency Response Team (ERT)
  • New Orleans Police Department - Special Weapons Assault Tactics (SWAT) Team
  • Newport News Police Department - Tactical Operations Unit (TOU)
  • New York City Police Department - ESU
  • North Eastern Massachusetts Law Enforcement Council (NEMLEC) Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT)(Multi-jurisdiction regional team)
  • North Miami Beach Police Department - Special Response Team (SRT)
  • Northern Illinois Police Alarm System (NIPAS) - Emergency Services Team (EST)(Multi-jurisdiction regional team)
  • Orlando Police Department - Special Weapons And Tactics (SWAT) Team
  • Orange County, California, Sheriff's Department - Special Weapons And Tactics (SWAT) Team
  • Orange County, Florida, Sheriff's Office - Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) Team
  • Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office - Special Weapons And Tactics (SWAT) Team
  • Palm Springs Police Department - Special Weapons And Tactics (SWAT) Team
  • Phoenix Police Department – Special Assignments Unit (SAU)
  • Phillidelphia Police Department Special Weapons And Tactics Team (SWAT) Unit
  • Pima Regional SWAT - (Multi-jurisdiction regional team)
  • Pinehurst Police Department Emergency Response Team (ERT)
  • Port of Seattle Police Department - Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) Team
  • Portsmouth, Virginia, Police Department - Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) Team (Formerly the Tactical Respopnse Unit)
  • Prince George's County Police Department - Emergency Services Team (EST)
  • Prince George’s County Sheriff’s Office - Specialized Services Team (SST)
  • Sacramento County Sheriff's Department - Special Enforcement Detail (SED)
  • Salt Lake City Police Department - Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) Team
  • San Diego Police Department - Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) Team
  • San Diego County Sheriff's Department - Special Enforcement Detail (SED)
  • San Francisco Police Department - Special Weapons And Tactics (SWAT) Team
  • San Francisco County Sheriff's Department - Special Response Team (SRT)
  • Savannah Police Department - Emergency Rescue Team (ERT)
  • Seattle Police Department - Emergency Response Team (ERT)
  • Shelby County, Tennessee, Sheriff's Office - Special Weapons And Tactics (SWAT) Team
  • Southern Pines Police Department - Special Response Team
  • Spartanburg Police Department - Tactical Neutralization Team (TNT)
  • Spokane County Sheriff's Department - Special Weapons And Tactics (SWAT) Team
  • Spokane Police Department - Special Weapons And Tactics (SWAT) Team
  • Suffolk, Virginia, Police Department - Critical Incident Response Team (CIRT)
  • South Suburban Emergency Response Team (SSERT - Muli-jurisdiction team in suburban Chicago, IL)
  • Southern New Hampshire Special Operations Unit (Multi-jurisdiction team)
  • Tacoma Police Department - Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) Team
  • Tampa Police Department - Tactical Response Team (TRT)
  • Tucson Police Department – Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) Team
  • Tulsa County Sheriff's Office - Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) Team
  • Tulsa Police Department - Special Operations Team (SOT)
  • Virginia Beach Police Department - Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) Team
  • Washington County, Oregon, Sheriff's Office - Tactical Negotiations Team (TNT)
  • Washington D.C. Metropolitan Police Department - Emergency Response Team (ERT)
  • Washington D.C. Metropo Transit Police Department - Special Response Team (SRT)
  • Western New Hampshire Special Operations Unit (Multi-jurisdiction team)
  • Wichita Police Department - Special Weapons And Tactics (SWAT) Unit


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