The Paulding County Sheriff’s Office
began the development of the SWAT Team program in 1998 with fourteen deputies. The team was formulated in response to the increase in violent crimes and the greater sophistication of the criminal element, on the national level. As the criminals became armed with greater firepower and variety of weapons, an immediate response by local law enforcement was required.
Over the years, our program has developed from a loosely structured format to its present status. The team now consists of over 20 team members including tactical members, a tactical dispatcher, tactical marksmen, explosive breachers and a gas team.
The acronym S.W.A.T. stands for Special Weapons and Tactics. Many teams in recent years have moved away from this title, because of what they see as a negative connotation attached to this term. Some now call themselves S.R.T., (Special Response Team), or E.R.T. (Emergency Response Team). Our team was originated with the title of S.R.T., and we have chosen S.W.A.T.
Numerous misconceptions exist around the S.W.A.T. philosophy. One of the primary misconceptions is that when S.W.A.T. responds to an incident, the use of deadly force is eminent or at least highly likely. This misconception was refuted in a study conducted by the National Tactical Officers Association
, which revealed that agencies with S.W.A.T. Teams actually had less incidents of the use of deadly force than agencies without this capability. One of the reasons for this is the increased variety of special equipment and tools available to S.W.A.T., which allow the resolution of high-risk scenarios without the use of lethal force.
The definition of what determines a successful mission is another popular misconception. If the suspect/subject is taken into custody without injury and there are no injuries to innocent citizens or our deputies, then we feel this mission was successful. Unlike Hollywood’s depiction of S.W.A.T., almost all of our call-outs are resolved without any shots being fired. Unfortunately, we have been involved in scenarios where the suspect’s actions have made this outcome impossible. But ultimately, the suspect’s decisions and illicit actions determine the final outcome. We train for all eventualities, but always focus our efforts on a peaceful resolution.
Our team trains for 4 hours every week. The tactical marksmen train for 4 hours additionally each month.
Our team is divided in the following designations:
Assistant Team Commander
Assistant Team Leaders
Tactical Marksman (Snipers)
Entry Team Members
Perimeter/ Observer Members