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  • Emergency Response Team

    I've been around here for quite awhile, and am currently working to get hired with the Toronto Police. Almost there! Anyways, the entire time I've been going through my testing, schooling, and certification I've always thought I wanted to be a Police Detective. I'm a smart kid, some would say really smart, and I just figured that my brain would slot me in there pretty well. I wasn't necessarily looking forward to it, I just thought that I was doomed to be the brain of my department, much like I was in all my Policing classes.

    So I was in my hometown of Windsor downtown and actually got to see our local ERT come out in force. It's our S.W.A.T. team, but with a different name. There was a giant melee in the middle of main street and out of nowhere a group of armored men with machine guns bust out of a van and in less than a minute completely control, coordinate, and pretty much dominate an entire city block with little to no effort. Let's just say I fell in love and it just seemed like the place where I was meant to go. I chatted with a few of them, they were all great guys.

    But I'm concerned. I figure that every Tom, Dick and Harry who joins the force wants to be in SWAT and I'm wondering if this is just a pipe dream of mine. Anyone here have any experience, or know the qualifications required and testing for their local unit? I'm not going to imagine it's going to be a walk in the park, but I'm wondering if it's a pie in the sky dream.

    I'm not a big guy, I stand at about 5'9" and 170lbs. I'm an excellent shot with a rifle and pistol, never fired an automatic. Mostly why I think I have a shot at the team is because I'm a stubborn sommabiatch. If I have a dream I will kick, scream, punch, sweat, cry, and bleed until I achieve it. So it if it's even remotely possible I'll grab a cot and live at the gym and shooting range until I can do it.
    "If you have to justify to yourself, or others why what you're doing isn't wrong; it is."

  • #2
    you need to focus on being the best road officer you can be, keeping your nose clean and making good cases. stay out of trouble, strive to improve your weaknesses and talk with the guys that are on the team to see what they say.

    you wont even be eligible for SWAT for a few years most likely so you need to make a good impression in the meantime.
    Perseverate In Pugna


    • #3
      Every agency is going to have their "ideal" officer for a tactical team. Narco has some great points. Common sense goes along way in police work. Being a good shot and great physical shape helps. I prefer team members that have a cool head, think and perform well under stressful conditions. I have no patience for those that are"hotshots" and can't control themselves. They will get you hurt or killed. The job takes more restraint and patience than I ever would have believed possible at the beginining. Being focused on a goal will definately help.
      The early bird may get the worm, but the second mouse gets the cheese.


      • #4
        It's good that the emotional and mental are as important as the physical. I've never been worried about my ability to handle stress under fire, even in the literal sense. But you're absolutely right, having a good reputation to bring alongside a good personality would benefit me greatly. If the physical requirements are a bit above my head I can just hit the gym and work hard until I can achieve them. Personality is a bit harder to change.
        "If you have to justify to yourself, or others why what you're doing isn't wrong; it is."


        • #5
          You ususally have to put in a certain amount of time before you are even considered eligable. Make that time count. Your reputation starts at day one. Do not be the rookie who proclaims himself to be a future SWAT guy. Learn the job, and perform it well.

          Once you have learned the job, be aggressive seek out the bad guys, and catch them relentlessly. This will show you to be a performer.

          Strive to display sound survival tactics on he street, and be a good cover officer. Always back up other cops when they are making stops or whatever. Embrace your role as a junior officer (you may get sh*t on some). Remember that you may have 5 or even 10 years on, but if you get on the team, you have exactly 0 years of tactical experience. If you can embrace the role of the junior officer it will show you to be a team player.

          Keep your firearms skills sharp, and even more important your physical capabilities should be kept well rounded, and at a high level ( crossfit.com ). This will show that you will be a strong addition to the team, a capable individual link on the chain.
          Last edited by CUFFS137; 08-25-2008, 07:35 PM.


          • #6
            Oh yeah...
            Don't worry about Tom, Dick, or even Harry. It's been my observation that many claim that they will be trying out for the team, but when it comes up, much fewer actually do. Of them, many, if not most do not make it through the try out process (at least on my team). I expect that Toronto ERT's try out is at least as rigorous. When you try out, never forget that your competition, may be your future team mate. When the time comes, you should be encouraging him/her.
            Last edited by CUFFS137; 08-25-2008, 07:36 PM.


            • #7
              Show you can walk, then learn how to run! SWAT is just one aspect of law enforcement among many specialized assignments. If you can get hired, concentrate on being a safe, thorough and professional patrol officer. Learn the basics and after a few years experience, you'll know if ERT or some other assignment is something you want to do. If that's the case, then go for it.
              "I'm not fluent in the language of violence, but I know enough to get around in places where it's spoken."


              • #8
                As others have mentioned, you must want to be the best Officer that you can be, first and foremost. We want guys who cut their teeth out on the street and prove themselves in many areas and are well rounded. We obviously like the A++ types, however that needs to be tempered with humble grace. We do not like reckless hot heads, rather cool, calculated persons who perform well under extreme stress. You do not have to be the biggest and strongest but need to be in great shape and having a good head on your shoulders is a must.

                Depending on the SWAT team and whether it is full or part time, it can be a tough position to get into. From what you say, you live in and want to work for a major metro Canadian dept so as an example, my particular city is about the 12th largest nationwide and our department is around 2200 sworn officers. We are a full time SWAT team of around 50 guys. So if you do the math, that is roughly 2% of the department. We may get 50+ applicants at each physical pre-acceptance test, held bi-annually. Then we may take 1-2 guys per year, depending on promotions and openings available in the division. Our youngest guy has around 7 years on the job.

                We must maintain our physical standard and pass 4 quarterly PT tests as well as 4 quarterly firearms qualifications. So yes, physical standards and firearm standards are a must. These type of standards are common, especially amongst large PD's with full time teams. Being in shape and maintaining that over several years as you get older can get challenging so make that a part of your lifestyle.

                Also as mentioned if you make it into your PD, show interest in SWAT, but don't be "That Guy". Show up and take their tests and be humble, but most importantly, prove yourself on the streets. Remember that your reputation as a Cop starts day 1 in the Academy and it will follow you for your career. Again I repeat DON'T be "THAT GUY"! There is always "that guy" in every group. If you don't think your group has "that guy" in it, you may just be "that guy". Then you might as well forget about SWAT.
                The comments made herein are those solely of author and in no way reflect the opinions of any other person, agency or other entity.

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