“When the public needs help they call the police. When the police need help they call SWAT.”
The joint metro SWAT team is an elite inter-agency team consisting of 40 members from the following agencies: Winter Park Police, Maitland Police, Apopka Police, Winter Garden Police and Ocoee Police. Like most law enforcement agencies, the Team is considered a “part-time” unit, made up of volunteer personnel who perform regular police duties in addition to their SWAT duties. Officer’s who wish to be a part of the team must go through a selection process that tests their physical ability, mental ability and shooting skills. Once an officer is selected for the Team, they still must to attend a week long SWAT Operators course.
Regular Team training occurs at least two days a month, in addition to any specialized training schools members might attended. SWAT trainings include various subjects some of which include; dynamic entries, hostage rescue, slow and deliberate searching, firearms proficiency, and close quarter combat (CQB). In addition to the tactical training, physical fitness training is also conducted during training sessions.
Team members are required to be on an on-call status and need to be ready to go in a moments notice. The SWAT Team is used to execute high-risk search warrants, high-risk arrests, barricaded persons, hostage situations or any civil unrest events. In addition, the SWAT Team provides support for Vice/Narcotic operations requiring suspect take-downs, arrests and large scale arrest sweeps.
Each year the SWAT Team competes in the annual SWAT Round-up International Competition (the Winter Park Police Department is also one of the sponsoring agencies for the event). During this week long event, tactical teams from all around the World come to Central Florida to compete in various events and participate in classes in the latest SWAT Techniques. The Team consistently performs well in this competition and even took the Top Florida Team trophy in 1997.