The Pima County Sheriff's Department has once again taken the lead in local law enforcement innovations. In November 2004, the Department's Special Operations Section undertook the daunting task of organizing the Pima Regional SWAT program. This is a collaborative effort of local law enforcement agencies coming together to provide improved and unsurpassed service to the communities they serve. The goal was to create one of the largest, most capable tactical team in the Country; this goal has been accomplished.
The Regional SWAT team is comprised of officers from several local agencies - the Pima County Sheriff's Department, Oro Valley, Marana, South Tucson, Sahuarita, and Pascua Yaqui Police Departments, and the Tucson Airport Authority. The SWAT program also includes medical personnel who are employees of the Pima County Sheriff's Department.
The SWAT program is composed of several distinct elements: Tactical, Negotiations, EOD, Canine, and Tactical Emergency Medical Support (TEMS). These elements work together to resolve dangerous incidents that pose a risk to the lives of the residents of Pima County. These incidents include hostage situations, barricaded subjects, suicidal persons, high-risk arrest situations, high-risk search warrants for narcotics, and other crimes or situations where the added training and resources of the SWAT team are needed.
Personnel from each of the participating agencies are divided among squads, creating equally diverse and strong teams. The Regional SWAT team is comprised of four tactical squads, two negotiations squads, an EOD/bomb squad, and a medical support squad.
The Tactical element is responsible for the service of high-risk warrants, making entry, and effecting the arrest of barricaded subjects. They train a minimum of two days per month in all areas of SWAT operations. Personnel undergo a strenuous selection process prior to being added to the team. Members must maintain high standards to remain active with the team.
The Negotiations element is responsible for gathering intelligence and directing crisis negotiations with barricaded subjects and hostage-takers. Negotiators undergo extensive training in the psychology of criminal activity and negotiations so as to achieve peaceful resolutions.
The Tactical Emergency Medical Support element provides emergency medical support to the entire SWAT team and suspects or victims requiring emergency medical services. TEMS is staffed by paramedics from the Pima County Sheriff's Department. The paramedics are fully integrated into the Tactical element and respond to all missions where SWAT is involved.
The SWAT team members work together to resolve critical incidents that require specialized training, tactics, and equipment.
« Return to Support Operations Division