The Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) team of any police department is an elite group of highly-skilled and trained individuals with highly-developed abilities in firearms, rescue tactics and medical response. Here's what you must do to become a SWAT team member.
- Skill level:
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Apply successfully for a police department opening. Many departments require a minimum number of years in service, often at least 3 years, as a police officer before you are permitted to apply for a SWAT team position.
Inquire about an opening on the SWAT team after you have spent 3 years as a patrol officer. Applying for this opening is like applying from outside the department. You're not automatically hired into the SWAT division simply because you are already a member of the police department.
Pass a variety of physical fitness tests once you have been selected as a candidate. These include timed runs, sprints, situps, pushups and various weightlifting exercises. You must be able to perfom a certain number of repititions, meet set time limits and lift a minimum amount of weight in order to pass these tests.
Take a firearms test. Police departments test candidates on various skills, including rapid fire sequences, shooting on the move and shooting at moving targets. You must display knowledge about the mechanics of many different types of guns.
Interview with a review board. This helps it gain insight into your ability to think quickly and establish whether you have the personality to become a SWAT team member.
Undergo a psychological evaluation. This shows your ablitity to handle stressful situations, reveals your level of self-confidence and displays your ability to work as a member of a team.
Tips and warnings
- Some SWAT divisions have additional requirements that demand members not to smoke or drink.
- SWAT team members must be on-call 24 hours a day and be able to respond to a call, in full gear, within 30 minutes.