The Special Weapons and Tactics (S.W.A.T.) team was established to provide a skilled and trained team which may be deployed during events requiring specialized tactics in situations where suspects have taken hostages and/or barricaded themselves, as well as prolonged or predictable situations in which persons armed or suspected of being armed pose a danger to themselves or others. The team also responds to terrorist acts and other high-risk incidents that are so hazardous, complex, or unusual that they may exceed the capabilities of first responders or investigative units.
The Desoto County Sheriff's Department SWAT team, established in 1992, is comprised of 28 members. The team consists of a commander, team leader, assistant team leader and medic, along with entry, less lethal, breaching, and sniper personnel.
All members of the S.W.A.T. team go through a rigorous selection process that tests their physical fitness, mental abilities, and firearms marksmanship. Once selected for a probationary period with the team, members are put through multiple weeks of close quarters combat training through our nationally known S.W.A.T course hosted by the Mississippi Tactical Officers Association (M.T.O.A.). Nearly 1,000 officers from across the nation have successfully graduated the course.
Once initial training is completed, S.W.A.T. members will either choose an additional skill or be assigned a skill set depending on team needs. The additional skill sets are numerous, but fall into three main categories:
- Breacher - trained in methods of mechanical, ballistic, thermal, hydraulic and explosive breaching.
- Sniper - trained in methods of surveillance, concealment, vehicular hides, land navigation, target detection, and long range precision marksmanship.
- Less Lethal - trained in methods of defensive tactics, impact munitions, chemical munitions, and chemical introduction of structures.
The S.W.A.T. team is an essential part of keeping Desoto County safe, and is a valuable asset to both the department and the community. They are highly trained, highly skilled, and a huge part of preserving innocent human lives. The team is ready 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, to respond to any major threat that endangers the lives of the innocent. S.W.A.T undergoes continuous training to ensure they stay ready for any circumstance that requires their attention.