The Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) unit exists to support the patrol and criminal investigations divisions in resolving high-risk incidents while minimizing the potential for injury or death to all parties involved. This is accomplished with specially trained officers and numerous specialized weapons, vehicles and other tools. Some examples of situations that would require the deployment of the SWAT team include:
- Barricaded, armed suspect(s) holding hostages
- Sniper attacks
- Protection of police and fire units involved in mob actions, arsonists, and insurgents
- Deployment of special and/or chemical weapons
- High risk search warrant service
- Special event planning and protection deployments
The tactical situation philosophy is that every decision is based on the premise that the preservation of human life constitutes the first priority in devising any strategy. The SBPD SWAT team is comprised of three components, each trained and equipped for specific duties. The SWAT team is commanded by a unit commander and is broken down as follows:
Tactical Team - Consisting of a tactical commander and a component of sergeants and officers that have specific duties and specializations. These duties include operators, sniper/observer teams, less-lethal, K-9 and breachers.
Negotiations - Consisting of a Negotiations commander, one sergeant, and six to eight officers. This team is responsible for conducting all communication with barricaded persons and is vital to gathering information about these situations.
Support - Consisting of a Support commander; a support team including entry and perimeter management and other officers used to assist during times of SWAT unit activation.
SWAT officers are highly trained and specialized in use of weapons and tactics to ensure the safety of the officers and civilians contacted during times of SWAT utilization. SWAT team members consist of members from the uniform patrol and investigative divisions who are engaged in the performance of their day to day duties and are on an 'on call' basis 24 hours a day to ensure a swift response when needed.