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  • SWAT Raid

    Hi all,

    In my story, a SWAT team surrounds a residential home in a suburban area in response to a potential hostage situation.

    I'm hoping for insight from any officers who have been involved in SWAT teams responding to these types of situations, particularly those serving/who have served in a small town.

    Things I would really love to know are:
    1. What is the procedure for responding to these types of call (e.g. securing the area, opening negotiations)
    2. What does it feel like to be involved in this kind of operation (e.g. adrenalin or calm, training kicking in, details/things that stick with you)
    3. What sort of equipment would the team be using (including weapons, armour, shields, floodlights, loudhailer/megaphone)
    4. If you have ever ridden in a Lenco BearCat, MRAP, or other armoured vehicle, could you provide insight into how it felt (e.g. crowded, hot, cramped, bumpy/smooth ride etc)
    5. What sort of terminology would officers use to address each other and keep other officers updated
    6. What ranks of officer would likely be involved in the operation, and who would they ultimately report to in senior command
    Thanks in advance for any insight that you are able to provide!

  • #2
    Just watch SWAT the movie, or any reality SWAT show.

    We don’t provide tactical information on here...
    Now go home and get your shine box!


    • #3
      First of all, "SWAT" is an acronym that has fallen from favor over the past several decades. "Special Weapons and Tactics" teams have largely been replaced by "tactical response units" or other terminology and acronyms, largely because of the perception that SWAT meant "swatting" someone (i.e.: non-judicial capital punishment applied).

      Tactical units usually consist of officers assigned to regular duties as patrolmen, detectives, and supervisors in various assignments such as patrol, traffic, investigations, administration, etc. SWAT duties are a secondary assignment, perhaps carrying some higher level of priority than regular duties, but not a full-time job in most agencies. Actually, relatively few departments have tactical units at all, and those that do are seldom able to support full-time assignments to such positions. A SWAT situation will likely pull in personnel from multiple assignments, both on-duty and off-duty, and deployment times can vary from one department to another (frequently requiring an hour or more to field a team to a specific location, during which regular on-duty patrol officers and supervisors will secure the area to the best of their abilities).

      Modern SWAT teams may include two or more supervisory officers (sergeants, lieutenants, etc) supported by a trained negotiator (for hostage situations, etc) and frequently a trained psychologist or psychiatrist. Many SWAT teams may include officers from more than one agency, particularly in non-urban areas that cannot budget for such resources individually.

      Communications are usually handled by dedicated radio frequencies and voice-activated headsets/microphones. Team members will be assigned individual call signs, usually very brief combinations of letters and/or numbers, which become hard-wired into every team members' minds by frequently training together.

      Armored vehicles (MRAP's, etc) have become more common in American law enforcement since 9/11 (federal grants and gifts), but are not all that common outside the major metro areas. Again, interagency cooperation and mutual support agreements are the rule, particularly in suburban and rural areas, and tactical responses may include resources from multiple agencies over a broad territorial area. And again, deployment to a specific scene may take significant time (hours, not minutes) so the regular duty cops will be responsible for doing the best they can with what they have until the "wonder boys" bring in the big toys and take over.

      Not a complete answer, but the subject is way too broad to paint with a single swipe of the brush, and the answer will be different in any community you may choose to create for your fiction.


      • #4
        We use SRT (Special Response Team) for our "SWAT" team, as do many federal agencies.
        Former Police Officer (Injured LOD)
        USAF VETERAN 2004-2012
        "The sheep pretend the wolf will never come, but the sheepdog lives for that day."-LTC Grossman
        Emergency Services Dispatcher, APG MD


        • #5
          In the real world, the racist SWAT Thugs would gun down everyone and eliminate all witnesses...
          Now go home and get your shine box!


          • #6
            One BS thing I see on SWAT raids on TV is everyone yelling GO GO GO...I have been present at countless SWAT operations and never ever did I hear the team yelling GO, GO, GO as they arrived..
            Retired LASD


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