Special Weapons & Tactics (S.W.A.T.)
The Special Weapons and Tactics (S.W.A.T.) Team consists of officers chosen from all divisions of the department. The SW.A.T. Team handles all high-risk incidents such as hostage situations, barricaded suspects, high-risk search and arrest warrant service, civil disorders, and covert operations. Specialized positions in the unit include scout, sniper, chemical weapons officers, and entry.
The Jacksonville Beach S.W.A.T. Team traces its history back to the formal activation of the team on November 1, 1976. This was a time in the United States when tactical teams were just becoming officially organized in major metropolitan areas and larger cities. Jacksonville Beach wisely invested valuable resources to organize a S.W.A.T. Team, and has remained committed to ensure these officers have the best available gear and resources to resolve tumultuous situations in a safe manner. Throughout the following decades, officers selected to fill this dangerous and essential role have served with pride and distinction. The Jacksonville Beach S.W.A.T. Team has performed over a thousand successful missions involving criminal barricade incidents, high-risk search warrants, VIP / dignitary protection details, hostage incidents, fugitive apprehension operations, and many more. The officers appointed to the S.W.A.T. Team are highly trained to respond to today’s dangerous missions that require the ability to apply proven tactical principles in rapidly changing environments.
S.W.A.T. Team Members
S.W.A.T. Team members undergo a rigorous six-month testing process to become a member of this elite Team. Testing includes physical agility, strength, pistol and rifle proficiency, and, most importantly, the ability to think quickly and respond properly. After members are selected, they attend advanced training; including combat tactics, vehicle assaults, firearms training with a variety of weapons, building-clearing techniques, barricade and hostage incidents, use of chemical munitions, planning and scouting, warrant service preparation, breaching, etc.
Basic SW.A.T. School
The Jacksonville Beach SW.A.T. Team began teaching an annual Basic SW.A.T. school in 2000. Sixty-five hours of instruction are packed into this six-day school. The class is directed toward S.W.A.T. candidates, new S.W.A.T. officers, or officers who have not attended a basic school. Officers from more than 65 police departments and sheriff offices in the State of Florida have attended along with agents, officers, and deputies from more than 22 out-of-state and Federal agencies.
Extensive scenario-based training using marking cartridges supplement classroom work. They are trained on the fundamentals in chemical munitions, tactical medical aid, bus and vehicle assaults, police marksman roles, ballistic shield training, building clearing techniques, warrant service planning and scouting, breaching, use of diversion devices, and basic hostage rescue techniques.