7 days a week24 hours a day
The special weapons and tactics (SWAT) team is a select group of deputies and support staff from the Jefferson County Sheriff's Office and the Arvada and Golden police departments. SWAT is called on during high-risk incidents in which disciplined teamwork, specialized weapons and tactical skills are required, such as incidents involving barricaded subjects or hostages.
The tactical element of SWAT is made up of highly trained, specially equipped deputies, along with three SWAT-trained K-9 teams. The support element of SWAT includes hostage negotiators and dispatchers. The team also works closely with the department's bomb squad in times when explosive breaching is necessary.
Each year, the Jefferson County Regional SWAT team responds to about 15 high-risk incidents. Special operations vehicles - including a command bus and two armored personnel carriers - mobilize from sheriff's office locations. Team members may respond directly to incidents in their personal or duty vehicles. SWAT is occasionally called upon to assist neighboring jurisdictions.
The SWAT team trains together twice a month in multiple skill areas to prepare for a variety of scenarios. Training includes diverse skills, such as firearms, rappelling, hostage negotiation, physical fitness and explosive breaching.
Rapid and immediate deployment (RAID) was developed in 1999 by the National Tactical Officers Association (NTOA) after meeting with Jefferson County SWAT team leaders who responded to the Columbine High School shootings. Following Columbine, Jeffco SWAT members instructed police agencies throughout the country in RAID tactics and helped agencies implement procedural changes for active-shooter scenarios.
In Jefferson County, changes were made to SWAT, including the addition of paramedics trained and equipped to accompany the tactical team and provide medical help to victims encountered during the course of a SWAT operation. Today, SWAT leaders train patrol deputies in RAID tactics.
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