Do you want to become a SWAT officer?
Do you wish to join the highly regarded ranks of your country’s police top 1% elite unit?
Do you have what it takes?
Skills, fitness, a fearless mind, and the guts to have your comrade’s back under all circumstances?
… let’s take a look into what you should know and consider before becoming a SWAT unit member!
SWAT teams: The best of the best!
SWAT teams are law enforcement units to confront violent situations and criminal incidents that are far beyond the capability of conventional police forces.
SWAT units are highly trained paramilitary units for law enforcement and police work.
They come with the latest military-like equipment and law-enforcement technology, and their members are ready to deploy against threats with advanced tactics.
Established during the 60s in United States, SWAT teams became very quickly an increasingly important tool of modern law enforcement in many countries.
What we know as modern “SWAT” was mostly developed through the 80s and 90s by the rising capabilities in technology and tactical training.
Today SWAT teams are often the first line of defense in the ongoing battle against terrorism.
(c) US Department of Defense
Join a SWAT team: What awaits you?
SWAT teams are able to manage “high-risk” situations like operations against organized crime, raids against local terrorist cells and armed hostage situations.
SWAT members are capable of crushing doors, rush into rooms, overrun armed forces, secure buildings, rescue hostages and neutralize serious threats.
Aside from these basic skills, SWAT teams are trained in negotiation tactics, in security technology, surveillance, fugitive tracking, VIP protection and undercover operations.
Typical missions of SWAT teams are:
- Hostage rescue
- Suicide intervention
- VIP Protection
- Undercover operations
- Riot control
- Warrant service
- Warrant service under fire
SWAT teams are built by the top 1% of policemen.
And they do their job very well.
If you are a bad guy, you better wish that SWAT will not come after you.
Because their shields, guns, and flashlights are most likely the last thing you will see as a free (and hopefully living) man.
SWAT Teams: Expert and team players
A SWAT officer has to be an expert in tactical training, in room entries, room clearing, securing buildings, tactical shooting and he must be able to handle firearms precisely and accordingly, even under extreme pressure and stress.
Aside from these basics, many SWAT officers often take over a very specialized task within their unit.
Some are expert in room entries, others in handling explosives, some do surveillance, and a very skilled elite becomes the teams’ sniper unit.
Others members are experts in negotiation tactics, in vehicles and vehicle assaults tactics or they gain tremendous knowledge of emergency medical aid.
A SWAT unit is teamwork.
A SWAT team is only as good as the skills of each officer work closely together with his team-mates’ skills and specific knowledge.
There is no room for “part-time Rambos” or a “lone cop” syndrome within a SWAT team.
A SWAT team’s task is to save lives and survive significant criminal threats, not to maintain someone’s ego or fulfill false dreams of adrenaline-rushing shootouts.
If you get this, you will find a lot of pride and honor in what you do within your SWAT unit.
It is a highly demanding task as well it is an honorable and proud work that will give you a sense of meaning, responsibility and true friendship for the rest of your life.
SWAT: What qualifications do you need?
Most countries have their very own requirements of becoming a SWAT officer.
These requirements will vary widely from country to country, from state to state, from department to department.
But in general, in most cases, a candidate should have at least a bachelor’s degree.
A university degree will help (sometimes, it is obligatory).
A university degree will also be helpful to get you into higher ranks of police work after several years in your SWAT unit.
Physical and psychological screening
Beside the academic level, your physical condition will be a significant factor when it comes to joining a SWAT Team.
You must be able to pass tests and training with highly demanding physical conditions.
A SWAT candidate also has to pass specific tests under significant stress to show that he is capable of thinking and acting clearly in situations of tremendous pressure and life-threating risks.
In most modern countries, you have to pass psychological profiling and various sessions of interviews with your trainers and seasoned SWAT officers to get into a team.
(c) FBI San Diego
How to become a SWAT officer
Most units will choose their SWAT officers within their own ranks.
Therefore, you should choose a career as a police officer before thinking about becoming a SWAT officer.
It is not like: “I wanna be SWAT! Where do I apply?!“
First, you have to become a police officer, gain several years of experience in police work, and later on, you can apply for becoming a SWAT officer through an internal selection process.
Most countries are handling their building of SWAT teams this way.
You must have a clean and excellent service record, and often you will need a recommendation from a superior officer.
The SWAT training camp
When you successfully apply for a SWAT team, your district will send you to a selection camp where you have to pass the first screening process.
If you made it through this first stage, you will enter a SWAT training program for 6 up to 12 months.
Academic courses, law studies, intense tactical training and tough fitness drills are awaiting you during this time.
If you pass these highly demanding weeks of academic courses and tactical training, your superiors will appoint you to supervised units where you start to learn the real life operational work of your future SWAT unit.
Do not get too excited.
It also means a lot of paperwork and ordinary police work.
SWAT does not mean just to jump through windows and rush into rooms to rescue hostages.
You also have to deal with a fairly part of daily police work and administration issues.
(c) Indonesia Police SWAT Team
What it takes to stay a SWAT officer
SWAT officers will be obligated to join regular education and qualification courses throughout their careers.
All SWAT members must maintain a very high level of physical fitness for years.
You will be obligated to pass regularly fitness test and ongoing training on the weapons and equipment you use.
Before you consider to become a SWAT team member, you should know: Your shifts will be extended, often irregular and your duty will be to work during all hours of the day including weekends and holidays.
Maintain a family and being a SWAT member can be a tough task. It is possible, but you will need a lot of support from your partner and you family.
You better be sure you will have it before you join the ranks!