Brief History of SWAT Print E-mail

The use of teams comprised of specially selected, trained and equipped personnel to resolve high-risk incidents, such as barricaded suspect/hostage situations, was born out of necessity. One of the most influential causes for the origination of these teams was the so-called Texas Tower shootings at the University of Texas at Austin, where Charles Whitman killed fifteen people and wounded thirty-one others on August 1, 1966. Also influential were the violent riots and disorders of the decade of the sixties, many of which involved sniper fire directed at police and civilians.

Among the first agencies to organize SWAT teams were the Los Angeles Police Department and the Los Angeles County Sheriffs Department, both having established their fledgling teams during the latter part of 1966. The acronym SWAT (Special Weapons and Tactics) was originated by the Los Angeles Police Department.

The passage of time has proven that the use of SWAT teams is the safest and most effective means of resolving high-risk incidents.

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