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.
The S.W.A.T. team is comprised of 40 members and has one of the most intense training programs within the Sheriff’s Office consisting of over 13,000 man hours of specialized training. 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.
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 search warrants, many of them requiring a forced entry. They regularly encounter and recover weapons while serving those warrants. They also respond to "full-response" callouts, which involve dangerous subjects.
During the past year, the team responded to 221 high risk warrants and 10 full response callouts. The Orange County Sheriff’s Office S.W.A.T. Team is continually a leading participant in the annual International Swat Round-Up competition.