When we hear the term “SWAT team”, we depict in our minds, people dressed in black, busting through doors, and grappling down buildings with tactical gear on. However, there is a lot more depth to the SWAT team than what we just see in video games and movies. In reality, the SWAT team preserves a long history and has also evolved a lot throughout the ages. The SWAT team was an influential step towards the fight for the rise of organized crime to this day.
In modern society, movies and video games incorrectly depict the SWAT team. Most films and video games are under a stereotypical illusion that shows SWAT team members doing impossible things. An example of this is a popular game like Rainbow Six Siege. We see videogame characters single handedly fight multiple people, turning the tides of the outnumbered SWAT team. This however, is not true. The SWAT team needs teamwork and never fights alone.
The Special Weapons and Tactics team was formed by Officer Daryl Gates due to the alarming increase in criminal activity in the 1960s. As the rate of organized crime increased, the police needed more highly trained officers who were capable of tackling organized gangs that were highly armed. In response, Officer Daryl Gates gathered 4 others he trusted and started the first SWAT team. After successfully completing one of their early missions of arresting two members of a notorious gang, The SWAT team grew in popularity among many officials. Officer Daryl Gates was asked to train other officers to expand the SWAT team outside of Los Angeles. Officer Daryl gladly accepted the request and trained other officers to become part of the SWAT team.
The SWAT team depends heavily on teamwork and trust. There golden rule is: Trust. This is because if you are focused on detaining a person on the right side of the room, when you are assigned with clearing the left side of the room, you can leave both yourself and your teammate in danger because there might be another person in the left side of the room. That is why each member is given a job. They must trust each other to be the best at the job they were assigned, because each member’s life depends on it.
There are many jobs within the SWAT team such as medics, negotiators, breachers, riot shield holders, and team leaders. Each play a vital role in the team because one job without the other is like a car with no engine in it. In other words, it’s useless without other parts. This is why the SWAT team is known for working together under stressful situations.
The SWAT team may be one of the most underrated and underappreciated jobs. Candidates must go through a grueling 3 week long trial that involves running, diving, climbing, target practice, etc. Candidates must also, complete a certain amount of push-ups, sit-ups, and pull-ups in a limited time. The spots open for the SWAT teams are very limited so there is also a lot of competition. Only the best of the best can guarantee themselves a spot on the SWAT team. Even after completing the exhausting tryouts, they must train daily to always be ready to respond to immediate danger.
These people give up their lives to protect the lives of others. They are repeatedly put under dangerous situations where their lives are always in danger. No matter the circumstances or obstacles, the SWAT team always lives up to their motto, “To Protect and to Serve.”
Stephen Kim, Grade 8
Rancho Pico Junior High School