SWAT. The acronym invokes so many thoughts - danger, fighting crime, shootings, heavily artillery, TV, movies and more. The reality of SWAT is that it is all of that and more. When the acronym is fully expanded it translates to "special weapons and tactics" or as it was originally developed, "special weapons assault team". SWAT is a specialized, elite police unit trained to execute dangerous and specific operations that basic and even intermediate police training is not intended to handle. Commonly, many assume from knowledge gained from TV and movies about SWAT. These assumptions are often skewed because what happens on real missions is not always as entertaining as what is seen on the silver screen. The history, purpose, requirements, training, equipment, and tactics used during missions are all separate and important aspects in understanding SWAT.
To completely understand why SWAT teams were developed, one must look at this history of swat, where it began, why it began, and how it progressed to be where modern teams are today. The first SWAT squad was established in Delano, California, where the local department was having difficulties containing the uprisings of local farm workers. This squad was established by training the entire department in crowd control along with sniper and anti-sniper tactics.
At the same time, Los Angeles police units were experiencing difficulties in handling situations in which riots and snipers were terrorizing basic police units. In response to these difficulties, LAPD officer John Nelson presented the concept of a squad which was specially trained to handle such situations to Inspector Darryl F. Gates. Gates approved the concept of a "highly disciplined" team that "utilizes special weapons and tactics" to combat the highly unusual, dangerous and difficult situations. LAPD SWAT first sent the members of the volunteer group of officers to train at the Delano Police Department where the... [continues]
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