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SWAT team means an elite tactical unit in various law enforcement agencies. SWAT stands for Special Weapons and Tactics. They are trained to perform high-risk operations coming out of the domain and possibilities of regular police officers. The duties and tasks of the members of the SWAT teams include the release of hostages and the counter-terrorist operations, the implementation of high-risk searchs and arrests, mastering barricaded suspects and interception of heavily armed criminals. SWAT teams are often equipped with special weapons, including automatic rifles, assault rifles, shotguns, weapons to control the masses, stun grenades, sniper rifles. They have specialized equipment including heavy body armor, ballistic shields, tools for intrusion, armored vehicles, night vision and optics, motion detectors to determine the positions of hostages or the kidnappers in closed structures.
The first SWAT team was formed by inspector Daryl Gates in the police structure Los Angeles police, back in 1968. Since then, many American and Canadian police forces, especially in the major cities and the federal and state levels of government, have formed their own elite units under various names. These units, in addition to its official name, are known as SWAT teams.
SWAT teams tasks
SWAT teams tasks include:
- Rescuing Hostages
- Riot Control
- Securing the perimeter against sniping
- Providing superior offensive power in certain situations, such as ,when the suspect is barricaded
- Rescuing officers or civilians under fire
- Anti-terrorist operations
- Solving high-risk situations with minimal losses, injuries, or damage to the infrastructure
- Solving situations involving barricaded subjects (specifically covered by the team fot hostage and barricade situations)
- Stabilizing situations involving high-risk suicidal subject
- The implementation of arrest warrants and search warrants
- Providing additional security at special events
- Special silent operation with subdued weapons
- Special training
SWAT teams featured events
The first significant appearance of SWAT team Los Angeles police was 09 December 1969 in the 4-hour confrontation with members of the “Black Panthers”. The Panthers were eventually surrendered, with injuries of three “Panter” members and three policemen. 1974 SWAT is generaly accepted as the need for the city and county of Los Angeles.
SLA mass shooting in Los Angeles
In the afternoon hours, on 17 May 1974 of the group Symbionese Liberation Army (SLA), heavily armed leftist guerrillas, barricated in residence at 54 street Compton Avenue in Los Angeles. Millions of people have followed the live transmission of the siege by the small screen and radio, and it was a hot topic in the newspaper a few days later. Negotiations have begun with barricated suspects several times, before and after having thrown tear gas. The policemen did not open fire until the SLA had not opened fire with semi-automatic and automatic weapons. Not one a citizen or a police officer was injured by 3772 bullets fired by members of the SLA. All the attackers were killed there during the action.
During the shooting, fire appeared inside the residence. The official cause of the fire is unknown, but police sources speculated that one of the shots hit in the Molotov cocktail made by the suspects. Other doubt that continually insertion of tear gas, which function is burning chemicals at high temperatures, has contributed to the development of a fire. All six attackers had suffered multiple gunshot wounds.
At the time of SLA shooting, SWAT teams were reorganised into teams of 10 people, each team consisted of two subteams of 5 people named element. Each “element” had a leader, two strikers, scouts and rear guards. They were armed with a sniper rifle, two semi-automatic rifles and two shotguns. SWAT officers also carried guns in shoulder holsters. Standard equipment included a first aid kit, gloves and a gas mask. At a time when most officers were signed for guns with a capacity of six bullets and shotguns, significant changes was to arme them with semi-automatic rifles. Conflict with heavily armed members of the SLA, instructed a SWAT team in the continued use of bulletproof vests and automatic weapons of all kinds.
Mass shooting in High School Columbine, Colorado
Massacre in High School Columbine in Colorado, April 20, 1999, was another specific event for SWAT teams and police. As stated in the article Christian Science Monitor “Instead of waiting members of SWAT teams to come to the scene, regular police should provide training and weapons to the site perform actions involving incidents with the use of lethal force by the suspects.”
The article later revealed that the patrol officers began to receive guns and heavy body armor and ballistic helmets, equipment that is traditionally associated with SWAT teams. The idea is to equip and train police patrol in order to provide a rapid response to active situations connected with the shootings. In these situations,it is no longer acceptable to close the area and to wait for SWAT teams.
As an example, the instructions for handling Minneapolis Police, says: “Members of the police Minneapolis should be familiar with the fact that in many situations with attacker who shoots, innocent lives are lost in the first minutes of the incident. In some situations, this requires quick action of the in order to save lives.”