In response to a noticeable increase in potentially violent situations, the Sumter County Sheriff's Office created its Special Weapons & Tactics Team in May of 2002.
The formation of such a specialized unit evolves from the concept that a well equipped and highly trained team can more effectively and safely be employed in an enforcement confrontation than a larger or lesser trained group of people.
Each member is selected from various divisions within the Sheriff's Office. Team members typically work in different areas of the Sheriff's Office such as the Criminal Investigations Division, Uniformed Patrol or School Resource Division. The assignments of each of the team members are their primary duty assignments and they volunteer for the SWAT team as an additional duty. Team members serve on a part-time, as-needed basis.
A tactical squad will consist of a group of highly motivated, well-conditioned, specially equipped individuals trained to function in tactical operations under a variety of circumstances and conditions. It is believed that confronting a criminal with such a specialized unit inhibits the inclination for violence and that resistance can be discouraged and if necessary, defeated. The objective of the SWAT team is the successful resolution of potentially violent encounters while saving lives.
SWAT is a support element of the Sheriff's Office and is activated whenever a situation requires the use of their specialized capabilities. SWAT implements and carries out advanced tactics for situations that call for an advanced law enforcement intervention.
The following are some examples of situations that, by their nature, require the deployment of the SWAT Team: