Joining a SWAT Team
SWAT was first established by the Los Angeles Police Department in the late 60′s to deal with extremely dangerous and often life threatening situations. While other police departments use their own acronyms for their special teams, the requirements for joining the SWAT team are pretty much the same through each of these departments. Here’s what it takes to join SWAT.
Have experience as a police officer. Most police departments require officers to have at least 1 year of general experience as a police officer before allowing them to apply for specialty teams such as SWAT. Some require a minimum of 2 years of experience.
1) This assures that officers are grounded in police procedures and are performing the same duties as other police officers.
2) Be in excellent physical shape. Although all police officers must pass a physical, SWAT team members need to be in better shape than other police officers because of the rigors of their duties. Taking part in a tactical workout program of the kind used by special forces in the military (e.g., Army commandos, Navy SEALs) would be a suitable way to train for joining SWAT.
3) Be an exemplary officer during your time on the force.
4) How to apply to join SWAT. A written test is required to determine knowledge of police procedures, physical fitness exams to determine strength, endurance and visual acuity, and most important an oral interview to determine mental fitness are the main requirements.
5) SWAT Team Training. All SWAT members are trained in marksmanship and the ability to handle firearms such as semi-automatic pistols, shotguns and submachine guns. Training may also include work with explosives such as flash grenades and bean bags, crowd control and non-lethal weapons such as tasers, defensive tactics against snipers and terrorists, negotiation skills and first aid.
Many police departments are now giving forms of SWAT training to all police officers as a result of the Columbine High School massacre in 1999 to enable them to act more quickly in situations where lives are at risk.
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