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Improper Use of S.W.A.T. Teams

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More SWAT teams sprang up around the nation throughout the sixties seventies, where they were most needed. For instance, in 1975, the Fresno Police Department put together a SWAT team that consisted of ten men – two sergeants and eight deputies

They armed themselves with weapons confiscated from properties and evidence.

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The concept of special weapons and tactic teams originated in the late 1960’s as a response to several sniping incidents against civilians and police forces throughout the U.S. The most notable incident being the Texas Tower Massacre. During this time Los Angeles experienced many problems of it’s own. Escalated violence toward police and civilians became all too common. Realizing that an effective response to these dangerous situations were virtually non-existent, LAPD officer John Nelson presented the special weapons and tactics concept to Darryl F. Gates, a young police inspector. Inspector Gates approved the concept and the formation of a small group of highly disciplined offices utilizing special weapons and tactics to cope with the new level of violence and unusual assaults. The first SWAT unit consisted of fifteen, four man teams. The members were volunteers from the various ranks of patrol and police assignments who had various military training. In 1971, SWAT was recognized as a full time unit with the Metropolitan Division. The Metropolitan Division of the known as the tactical unit of the LAPD, was organized into ‘A’, ‘B’, and ‘C’ platoon, and was given the designation of ‘D’ platoon, and at the same time formally adopted the acronym SWAT. SWAT stands for Special Weapons and Tactics. Due to it’s high level of training and success rate, LAPD SWAT is considered to be the preeminent SWAT team in North America.

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Commonly, many assume from knowledge gained from TV and movies about SWAT. These assumptions are often skewed because what happens on real missions is not always as entertaining as what is seen on the silver screen. The history, purpose, requirements, training, equipment, and tactics used during missions are all separate and important aspects in understanding SWAT. To completely understand why SWAT teams were developed, one must look at this history of swat, where it began, why it began, and how it progressed to be where modern teams are today

The first SWAT squad was established in Delano, California, where the local department was having difficulties containing the uprisings of local farm workers (History of S.W.A.T., Los Angeles Police Department). This squad was established by training the entire department in crowd control along with sniper and anti-sniper tactics.

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Given these points, SWAT teams arose out of a need for elite response units to send to especially dangerous situations. It's quickly devolved into nothing more than a sideshow for warrant service -- an excuse to treat citizens like enemy combatants while needlessly escalating situations until they can justify the absurdly overblown tactics and weaponry being deployed.

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About the SORT Unit. Delaware State Police Special Operations Response Team. Retrieved April 1, 2006. From http://www.state.de.us/dsp/sort.htm. 2. (n.d.).

SWAT/Tactical Teams. SWAT/Tactical Teams. Retrieved March 29, 2006. 3. (n.d.).

History of S.W.A.T. Official Website of the Los Angeles Police Department.

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