The Special Weapons and Tactics (S.W.A.T.) Team consists of officers chosen from all divisions of the department. The S.W.A.T. Team handles all high-risk incidents such as hostage situations, barricaded suspects, high-risk search and arrest warrant service, civil disorders, and covert operations. Specialized positions in the unit include scout, sniper, chemical weapons officers, and entry.
S.W.A.T. members undergo a rigorous testing process to become a member of this elite team. Testing includes physical agility, strength, and the ability to think quickly and respond properly. After members are selected, they attend advanced training; including combat tactics, firearms training with a variety of weapons, building-clearing techniques, etc.
The Jacksonville Beach S.W.A.T. Team began teaching a Basic S.W.A.T. abilities school in 2000. Sixty-five hours of instruction are packed into this five-day school. The class is directed toward S.W.A.T. candidates, new S.W.A.T. officers, or officers who have not attended a basic school.
Extensive scenario-based training using marking cartridges supplement the classroom work. They are trained on the fundamentals in chemical munitions, bus takedowns, vehicle takedowns, police marksman roles, ballistic shield training, building clearing techniques, warrant service, breaching, raid planning, use of diversion devices, and basic hostage rescue techniques.
Extensive training occurs in the area of dynamic clearing techniques, defensive tactics, slow and deliberate clearing, tactical theory, and shoulder fired weapons and pistol qualifications.
Since 2000, the Team has conducted nine classes and graduated 275 tactical operators. Students of these classes have come from police and sheriff agencies in Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Maine, and Federal agencies.