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Special Weapons and Tactics


SWAT Deputies responding to scene

They draw the toughest, and often, the most dangerous assignments.  They are called into service with little notice, on any day, at any hour.  Some would say they are the elite among their law enforcement peers.  They would tell you that they are just doing a job.  

They, of course, are the deputies who volunteer to serve on the Orange County Sheriff's Office Special Weapons and Tactics Team. 

The very nature of the assignments they are tasked with requires that deputies with aspirations to serve on the SWAT Team undergo a rigorous selection process and that they regularly and vigorously train for every possible scenario and situation that might present itself. 


SWAT vehicle with rear doors openThe SWAT team is comprised of agency members and has one of the most intense training programs within the Sheriff’s Office. They are a dedicated team of selected personnel prepared for successfully resolving critical incidents exceeding the capabilities of law enforcement first responders. SWAT Team members are trained in the use of advanced tactics and specialized weapons/equipment to allow them to effectively handle difficult and dynamic situations to include hostage rescue, armed barricaded subjects, high-risk search warrants, and violent fugitive apprehensions.

Their equipment is state of the art in the tactical field featuring armored vehicles such as the legendary Bear Cat, Caterpillar, robotic technology, and explosive breaching techniques. They are specialists in high risk search warrants, barricaded suspects, hostage rescue and precision shooting.

SWAT also has one of the most intense training programs within the agency and team members spent over 9,800 hours training in 2015.

Members of the team can be called upon to serve a series of high-risk narcotics search warrants in the morning and find themselves in the middle of an armed hostage situation later that afternoon.

Dealing with the unexpected in high-stress situations is just another day in the office for a member of the team. SWAT conducts high-risk search warrants which often require forced entry and the use of dynamic tactics. They regularly encounter violent felons and recover weapons while serving the warrants. They also respond to "critical incidents" often involving violent and dangerous subjects.

During 2015, SWAT conducted 126 search warrants and had 12 full-response call-outs.

The Orange County Sheriff’s Office SWAT Team is continually a leading participant in the annual Swat Round-Up International competition. 

SWAT Round-up International

The best Special Weapons and Tactics teams in the world come to Orange County every year to compete, head-to-head, in some of the most grueling, intensive, and physically demanding events you could ever imagine.  Why? It depends on who you ask.  Some what say bragging rights, some would say to determine who is the best among theses elite teams of law enforcement tactical specialists, and others would say it is an opportunity to see how the other guy does it and how we might do it better. in other words, what is the current "best practice."

The fact is, when it's time to serve that dangerous search warrant, or rescue children during a hostage situation, or something goes terribly wrong in your neighborhood, these are the deputies and police officers you want to call.

Over the years SWAT Roundup has evolved from that "friendly" competition to one week out of the year where these specialists can come together for the first class training provided during the event, a chance to see and try some of the latest law enforcement technology and yes, to see who is the best of the best among their peers.

Hope to see you again in November.