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Guide to the Development of Special Weapons and Tactics Teams

NCJ Number
J A Kolman
Date Published
203 pages
This text discusses the organization, manning, and training of a highly disciplined Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) team, outlines necessary equipment and weapons, and illustrates tactical procedures for hostage-taking and barricaded suspect incidents.
A SWAT team should be organized only if the need and resources exist. Smaller departments can organize 'as-needed' teams while larger departments may prefer full-time teams. Team members should include a commander, team leader, scout, backup, marksman, spotter, gasman, and paramedics. Because team members must be mentally stable, able to work well in teams, and in good physical shape, the guide advises screening applicants on the basis of years of duty, personality test scores, physical condition, and past performance. Background investigations should be conducted for applicants who pass these tests. Equipment needs, for individual members and the team as a whole, include rifles and sidearms, gas masks, grenades, knives, radios, lights, battering rams, and public address systems, as well as special uniforms and headgear. The team's logistical superiority depends on regular testing of equipment and training in its use. Training exercises should cover team movement, firearms and use of chemical agents, freeway and street procedures, rappelling (rope climbing/descending), team driving, and hostage-incident and barricade simulations. A suggested 1-week training program is presented. The author discusses trends in SWAT team use and potential legal problems. Appendixes include sample hostage policies and procedures, a physical test score sheet, instructions for modifying blank-firing revolvers, and a list of product manufacturers. An index and 27 references are supplied.