The SWAT team is a prestigious, highly-trained arm of every police department across the country. Tasked with some of the most dangerous jobs on the police force, SWAT team members have to be the most qualified officers to effectively and safely defuse a wide range of bad situations. Qualifying for the SWAT team takes a combination of good police work and extra training. Once you’ve made it onto the team, you can start your training in advanced weapons like semi-automatic rifles and shotguns or tactical equipment like flashbangs. Here’s how you can qualify to join the police’s elite squad.
Complete your Police Officer License
You must be a licensed police officer to become a member of the SWAT team. Police academy training requires about one year to complete. After you’ve joined the department, you should spend a few years gaining the experience you need to advance in your career. Most SWAT teams require a minimum of 1-2 years of police work before an officer can be moved up to the Special Weapons and Tactics unit.
Maintain Sterling Employment Records
The better your professional track record, the more likely you will be selected as a candidate for SWAT training. Keep your police work tidy and your ethical record clean. Officers working in any high pressure situation, especially like the challenges faced by tactical response teams, must be able to keep a cool head. Maintain a positive work record with your superiors to improve your chances of being called up for SWAT.
Top-Level Physical Fitness
The SWAT team is an elite group of officers and as such, they must be in better physical shape than the average police officer. Especially in terms of endurance and physical strength, officers must be able to perform at top levels in order to qualify. Some officers have likened SWAT training to that of Special Forces in the U.S. military service.
Apply with your Police Department
Your application to the police department will include a series of qualifying tests, the first of which is a written exam. This written test will evaluate a candidate’s understanding of police protocol. Afterwards, police officers will be subjected to physical and mental examinations very similar to the initial entrance evaluations for police academy. Physical endurance and strength are tested, as well as vision and hearing. The testing standards are more rigorous than basic training, so it is recommended to train in advance of the tests. Psychological and character evaluations are also required for approval. Once you have passed all the required tests, you will be ready to begin the high-stakes police work of a SWAT team member.