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SWAT Officer Jobs

Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) officers are specialized police officers trained to handle high-risk operations that can not be handled by an average patrol officer.

The FBI has its own in-house SWAT team, as do many local and state police departments across the U.S.

Job Description: A Day in the Life of a SWAT Officer

A SWAT team will be called upon in extreme situations and high-risk cases. Due to the unpredictable nature of his job, a SWAT team member never knows what to expect while on the job. SWAT teams may be called upon to conduct hostage rescue missions, engage with heavily armed criminals, apprehend suspects who have barricaded themselves from the police, serve arrest warrants to particularly dangerous suspects, provide assistants on drug raids, act as additional security at special events, and more.

To deal with the dangers of the job, SWAT teams are equipped with high-tech protective gear and more intense firearms than those usually issues to regular patrol officers. Special tools used by SWAT teams include armored cars, stun grenades, assault rifles, submachine guns, night vision gear, body armor and more.

General Requirements and Training

Officers must pay their dues before they can join the ranks of a SWAT team. Whether at the local, state or federal level, most law enforcement agencies require an officer to serve for a certain number of years before he can even be considered for SWAT training. Officers interested in SWAT who have served the required amount of time and excelled in their work must pass additional tests, including physical training, psychological testing, and written and oral exams.

Job performance reviews and background checks are also necessary for SWAT applicants.

Those officers who successfully pass these requirements must take a variety of specialized training in order to become a fully qualified SWAT officer. This can include training in sniper skills, explosives knowledge, marksmanship, rappelling and roping techniques, use of tasers and other special weapons, and crowd control methods.

Salary, Benefits and Room for Advancement

Because SWAT team members are essentially specialized police officers, the salary and benefits of a SWAT officer are similar to that of a regular police officer. The Bureau of Labor Statistics includes SWAT officers in its "Police and Detectives" salary report. The exact salary and benefits of a SWAT officer depends on whether the officer works at the local, state or federal level. See the patrol officer training page for Information about salaries, benefits and opportunities for advancement for local and state police officers. There's similar information about FBI officers in this section too.