Job Description and Mission Of a SWAT Team Officer

The Special Weapons and Tactics Team (SWAT) depending on the police agency normally consists of around 30-50 Police Officers that provide specialized services in support of a Police Department’s mission. The main goal of the SWAT Team is to provide protection and safety for innocent civilians and Police personnel while reducing the possibility of injuries or death at high risk incidents.

Organizationally, the SWAT Team depending on the size of the agency is comprised of a one Lieutenant, 3-4 Sergeant, 25-30 SWAT Officers and six Marksman. The SWAT Team reports directly to the Criminal Investigations Division’s Commander.

Every SWAT Officer has a primary duty in the  Police Department, such as; a Road Patrol Officer, School Resource Officer, Detective, Motorcycle Officer etc. The Officer’s assignment to the SWAT Team is voluntary and is an additional responsibility to their normal duties.

Incidents in which the SWAT Team (also known as the Special Response Team – SRT) is needed:

Sniper Situations
Barricaded Suspects
Hostage Situations
Dignitary Protection
Civil Disturbance
Search & Arrest Warrants
Armed Suspect
Narcotics Raids
Anti Terrorism

Duties & Responsibilities:

SWAT COMMANDER: The SWAT Commander is responsible for presenting tactical operations for the safe resolution of an incident. Additional responsibilities range from the selection and training of a SWAT Officer to maintaining administrative and logistical records.

TEAM LEADER: The Team Leader is a senior SWAT Officer who has been selected to command the entry team in a high risk situation.

TEAM MEMBER: An Officer trained in the use of special weapons and tactics who is utilized in various capacities which include: inner perimeter security, building entry and suspect apprehension, hostage rescue, team security, delivery of chemical agents, anti-sniper techniques, dignitary protection.

SCOUTS: A two man team that is sent out ahead of the main body of the team to ascertain any information that will assist in the safe deployment of the team.

UTILITY MAN: The Utility Man carries additional equipment and a fully stocked back pack and is considered Rear Security for the team. He is armed with a shotgun to deploy chemical weapons and breaching rounds.

BREACHER: Team members that are responsible for forcibly opening secured doors and clearing blocked avenues of entrance for the SWAT team to make their entry.

GAS TEAM: Two man teams that deploy chemicals into a structure.

MARKSMAN: A SWAT Officer trained in the use of a scoped rifle.

Qualifications, Job Training, and Promotions

  • Tests of vision, hearing, strength, and agility are required.
  • Participate in written competitive examinations.
  • At least a high school education is required though many entry-level applicants have completed some formal postsecondary education and a significant number are college graduates.
  • Aspirants should enjoy working with people and meeting the public.
  • Interviews by senior officers, character traits and backgrounds investigation and, in some agencies, interviews by a psychiatrist or a psychologist, or given a personality test are required.
  • Submission to polygraph examinations or drug testing is also required.
  • Knowing a foreign language can be an asset.
  • Going through a training period prior to their first assignment, state and large local department recruits are trained in their agency’s police academy for about 12 to 14 weeks. A regional or state academy is for recruits for smaller agencies. Classroom instruction in constitutional law and civil rights, state laws and local ordinances, and accident investigation is included in training.
  • Training and supervised experience in patrol, traffic control, firearms, self-defense, first aid, and emergency response is required.
  • After a probationary period ranging from six months to three years, promotions to corporal, sergeant, lieutenant, and captain usually are made according to a candidate’s position on a promotion list, as determined by scores on a written examination and job performance.
  • Self-defense tactics, firearms, use-of-force policies, sensitivity and communications skills, crowd-control techniques, legal developments, and advances in law enforcement equipment are required as a part of annual training.

Average Salaries, Earnings, Annual Salary Of a SWAT Officer

The average salary for s.w.a.t. jobs is $64,000. Average s.w.a.t. salaries can vary greatly due to size of agency, location, experience and benefits.

This salary was calculated using the average salary for all jobs with the term “s.w.a.t.” anywhere in the job listing.