|Special Threat Response
The Special Threat and Response Unit is an element within the Field Operation Division's Specialized Operations Section. The Unit is comprised of two elements - the Special Weapons and Tactics Team (SWAT) and the Hostage Negotiators.
The Miami Police Department established the SWAT Team in 1968 as a response to an increase in "special threat" situations in Miami. Averaging 200 operations a year, the members of the specially trained Team are faced with varied, multi-faceted missions. They respond to extremely dangerous situations that include responding to barricaded subjects, sniper operations, serving high-risk warrants, confronting suicidal individuals, and dignitary protection for the many high profile personalities that visit Miami.
Selection for the SWAT Team is a difficult process. All applicants must be sworn Miami Police Department officers. Initial "tryouts" are physically and mentally demanding. Applicants must be agile, physically fit, and capable of accomplishing multiple tasks under extremely stressful conditions. Once every challenge is met, the applicant is interviewed before an review board consisting of SWAT Team members and the SWAT Commander. Of the numerous applicants, only a handful are selected to attend the prestigious Miami Police Department SWAT School.
At the 3-week training program, both trainees and instructors complete numerous hours of physical training and participate in skill-building exercises. The training curriculum includes sessions on rappelling, fast roping, room entry procedures, building searches, and expertise in the specialized tactical weapons unique to the Team. The students are tested throughout the training program by physical challenges as well as on the written materials.
The training and learning process does not end with graduation from SWAT School. As an active member of the SWAT Team, the new SWAT officers continue to train and further enhance their capabilities and expertise. To remain active on the Team, officers must qualify quarterly in weapons and physical proficiency.
Members of the SWAT Team are assigned to two sub-units - Sniper Team and the Waterborne Tactics Team. The Sniper Team officers specialize in long range surveillance as well as long range, precision shooting skills. The Waterborne Tactics Team members train extensively for the SWAT related operations in and around Miami's countless waterways.
At the SWAT School, the Miami Police Department SWAT Team professionals have trained officers from numerous national law enforcement agencies. At the request of the Unitd States Department of State, SWAT Team officers have traveled to several South American nations to provide SWAT training for local law enforcement organizations.