10 yrs on the team with 3 yrs as a team leader in the late 70s and into the 80s.
what is involved in getting on with a departments SWAT team?
We were selected by the other team members. They looked at your past and current experience and if they thought you could do the job then they contacted you. If you weren't dedicated to your day to day job then you wouldn't be dedicated to being on SWAT. Some people made it know thru the chain of command that they were interested. We would look at them and if they had the work record and experience then we'd contact them. Then there was the PT tests, shooting tests, and tons of training. Anywhere along that way a person could be dropped.
how would one go about getting on with the SWAT team?
There has to be an opening. Not everyone who wants to be on the team is allowed, and that is how it should be. Team selection should be very tough and thorough. There are a lot of cops who are wannabee SWAT types who should never be on the teams.
The team leader approached me. I was just a few months out of the academy and still on probation when I got on the team.
You could be booted off the team for failing to perform. We kicked one of our guys off after we did an ops where we took down an armed subject who was holding 2 hostages. The guy froze in the doorway which placed the entire op and other team members in danger. That was his last op.
Does every PD or SO have some form of a SWAT team,
Not every PD or SO has a team but some of those who do have them shouldn't. It was fashionable for every chief and sheriff to have their own teams. In addition, there were wannabee ninja types on depts who pushed to develop teams. Some of those were dangerous. They didn't have money for training so they self taught themselves even tho the extent of their training regiment involved whatever they read from SWAT magazine and watching Chuck Norris movies with no one really knowing what they were doing or if they were doing it right. What they lacked in training they made up for (or so they thought) by buying all the ninja toys they could afford, usually out of their own pockets. If it was made out of black nylon and had velcro and D-rings these guys would buy it. What made these guys even more dangerous is they worked for some podunk chief who didn't have a clue about cop work and he thought his guys were better than HRT or Delta Force.
exactly does your every day 40 hour work week go?
When I was on the team we were a part time team. We did patrol as our normal day. After our initial training we would have training days 2 days a month. These training days were in addition to our normal range and defensive tactics training which every Troop got. When needed either by my agency or by another agency who didn't have a team we would be called out. We would get a couple of call outs a month just for my area.
Our team now is full time. 3 teams with 20 on a team. Each team has a different area of the state. When they are not doing call outs then they're training. Statewide they'll do between 300-400 ops a year somewhere around the state. In addition to the typical SWAT call outs they are the primary WMD response for the state. They keep busy.
what does it mean to you to be part of a SWAT team? Is it worth it?
It meant working with guys who were hand selected from the entire dept and who were on the team because they were highly motivated and working for a common goal. If a guy didn't fit in then he was gone. Slackers didn't get on the team and if a guy slacked off he was gone. Glory seekers were gone. If a person was on the team to be some hero he was gone. If a person was on the team and worried about overtime, long hours, call out in bad weather, someone else getting something he didn't get then they were gone.