Special Weapons & Tactics (SWAT)

When the public needs help they call the police. When the police need help they call SWAT. It is up the SWAT team once they arrive at a scene to resolve whatever problem it is that they confront.

The Team

The Pierce County Sheriff's Department (PCSD) SWAT team consists of 22 members from various units within the department. The team consists of a commander, two team leaders, four counter-snipers, four negotiators and the rest consists of entry team personnel. The team also has one team physician and one paramedic from a local fire department who have been commissioned as reserve officers with the department, and who respond to SWAT incidents for medical support.
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The commander and team leaders are responsible for mission selection and planning. The counter snipers are responsible for long-range reconnaissance of a target location and for protecting the team from hostile threat with long-range marksmanship skills. The negotiators are used extensively to talk out a suspect in order to avoid the necessity of making entry into a location or otherwise subjecting the team or a suspect from the violence of armed confrontation. If negotiation fails, the final option must be put to use. The SWAT entry team is the sharpest and most potent arrow in the quiver of last resort and when the buck finally stops, it stops in front of the team commander who must send them into contact with armed offenders.


The team trains together twice a month, with a yearly three-day exercise on McNeil Island. Included in their selection of tools is a tactical vehicle, night vision equipment and a variety of other specialized equipment and training for the safe completion of their missions. The team trains extensively in explosive entry, helicopter fast roping and rappelling, small boat operations to include helo casting, raids on military aircraft, search operations aboard naval vessels and hostage rescue. All team members are trained to an 'expert' level and some are trained to 'instructor' level on a variety of weapons systems. The team is also full of firearms, defensive tactics and other instructors.