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SWAT Borrows a Navy

NCJ Number
Law and Order Volume: 52 Issue: 11 Dated: November 2004 Pages: 54-56,58,60
Jim Weiss; Mickey Davis
Date Published
November 2004
5 pages
This article describes the waterborne training of the Clearwater (Florida) SWAT team.
The need for such training was recognized because of the numerous waterways and barrier islands in the Clearwater jurisdiction. The SWAT team, however, did not have any type of marine vessel; however, the SWAT medics, who are also firefighters, had access to the fire department's boats: a three-seat Polaris jet ski; the three-seat SeaDoo jet ski; and a larger, rigid-hull, inflatable boat. The SWAT trainer designed a 1-day training plan for the team, which is a part-time unit composed of officers who have other policing duties. The training activities for the day included instruction in the available watercraft and their uses, along with a show-and-tell of Coast Guard duties and an explanation of the police partnership at the Sand Key Coast Guard Station. The training also included hands-on practice runs with the watercraft, deployment practice with set-up teams for each watercraft, and practical exercises that dealt with land clearing of barrier and spoiler islands. The training further included a mini critique of equipment and weapons issues. In the course of the training, the team learned the capabilities and the limitations of the available watercraft. The lessons regarding limitations were particularly important, so as to avoid failed attempts to extend the watercraft beyond their capabilities in the course of actual operations.