SPECIAL WEAPONS AND TACTICS (SWAT)
A Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) team is any designated group of law enforcement officers who are selected, trained, and equipped to work as a coordinated team to resolve critical incidents that are so hazardous, complex, or unusual that they may exceed the capabilities of first responders or investigative units.
San Luis Obispo County currently has two SWAT teams. The San Luis Obispo County Sheriff’s SWAT team is composed of deputies and officers from the Atascadero Police Department. Our team, the San Luis Obispo Regional SWAT team, is composed of officers from the Paso Robles Police Department and officers from several other local police agencies including the San Luis Obispo, Pismo Beach, Arroyo Grande, Morro Bay, Grover Beach, and California Polytechnic State University San Luis Obispo Police Departments.
The primary responsibility of the Special Weapons and Tactics Team is to provide a tactical response to critical incidents. Through the use of developed skills, tactics, and specialized equipment/capabilities, the San Luis Obispo Regional SWAT Team will manage critical incidents utilizing tactics and strategies that emphasize control, containment, resolution, and the protection of life and property. The following are examples of incidents that may dictate the response of SWAT:
- Hostage Situations
- Barricade Situations
- Sniper Situations
- High-Risk Apprehension
- High-Risk Warrant Service
There are six officers and one tactical communications dispatcher from the Paso Robles Police Department assigned to the San Luis Obispo Regional SWAT team. Each of the officers volunteered for the assignment to the SWAT team and each had to undergo an intensive selection process, including physical agility and firearms qualification courses, and an oral interview process. The selection process is designed to determine each officer’s ability to function effectively and safely in a team environment, while facing high stress situations that are often encountered by a SWAT team. The officers are selected for this demanding assignment as much for their mature decision making and judgment skills as for their physical fitness, agility and firearms skills.
The assignment to the SWAT team is not a primary duty assignment; it is a collateral duty, but the officers must commit to maintaining their physical fitness and firearms skills and to attend monthly training sessions, where the team repeatedly practices their responses to tactical situations.
All the members of the San Luis Obispo Regional SWAT team, from each of the participating police agencies, are integrated into one combined organizational team hierarchy devoted to conflict resolution. The team is ultimately under the control of a Board of Governors, which includes several Chiefs of Police from San Luis Obispo County law enforcement agencies.
For additional information, contact Lt. Tim Murphy at 227-7444.