Intense training lies ahead for SWAT team hopefuls.
The need for a more specialized branch of many metro police departments led to the formation of the Special Weapons And Tactics division, better known by the acronym of SWAT. These SWAT teams are comprised of volunteers from within their respective departments and are chosen from a rather deep pool of applicants. Qualifying officers that are selected are then subjected to specialized training that includes the use and understanding of advanced weaponry and counter-terrorism measures, laborious training that must be passed in order for the SWAT member to be allowed into the field.
SWAT weapons vary from lethal to non-lethal and are used for close quarters combat, the exception being SWAT snipers who use H&K or Remington .50 caliber rifles to disable, disarm or ultimately terminate a threatening individual. SWAT members are trained to use common sidearms such as Glock pistols and MP5s, as well as tactical shotguns and carbine rifles. Target accuracy is stressed during training. SWAT members are also taught to use small explosives for breaching purposes.
SWAT team members are well-versed during training in several non-lethal takedown weapons to subdue, disable or render a threat unconscious. Besides rubber bullets and beanbag rounds, pepper spray-filled paintball rounds, pepper spray canisters, flash-bang grenades, teargas canisters and Taser usage are all taught during training.
Besides stationary accuracy training (target practice), recruits fire on moving targets. SWAT recruits are taught accurate shooting while they are on the move. Familiarity with the various firearms are taught in conjunction with rapid loading/reloading techniques. Usually, paintballs are used for training purposes and drills until live fire is introduced into tactical situation teaching.
Hostage situations are one of the many reasons SWAT teams are summoned, so training revolves around breach a well-fortified room or premises. Room clearing, the act of taking down hostage takers and freeing the hostage, is stressed through both lethal and non-lethal tactics. Dynamic entry methods and forcefully gaining entrance into homes or businesses (such as narcotic raids) are part of the tactical curriculum.
The obstacle course not only stresses the recruit’s physical conditioning but introduces team-building components, as the SWAT members must learn to support each other during the running of the obstacle course. All skills are then put to the test during practicals that each recruit must pass in order to named to their respective SWAT team.