Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT)
Currently - 48 Officers
The Washington County Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) is an interagency special response team of qualified city and county officers from within the ranks of the eight law enforcement agencies of Washington County. Currently there are 48 members on SWAT: Three Commanders, 31 Tactical Members, 10 Negotiators, and four Communication Members. Many of the SWAT members are cross-trained in several areas such as snipers, gas delivery, paramedics, and Canine handlers.
The team meets for training once a month for an eight hour training session. During these sessions officers practice defensive tactics, tactical planning, special weapons training, mission operations and must meet qualification standards several times a year with each weapon they are assigned. There are currently two Forest Lake Police Officers assigned to the Washington County SWAT Team.
Recognizing that the presence of a highly trained, highly skilled police tactical unit has been shown to substantially reduce the risk of injury or loss of life to citizens, police officers, and suspects; and recognizing that a well managed "team" response to critical incidents usually results in successful resolution of critical incidents. It is the intent of the Washington County Sheriff's Office, Cottage Grove, Woodbury, Stillwater, Bayport, St. Paul Park, Oak Park Heights, and Forest Lake Police Departments to work together to provide a highly trained and skilled tactical team as a resource for those law enforcement agencies included in this multi-jurisdictional agreement who need assistance with critical incidents.
The mission of the SWAT team is to support the jurisdictions within Washington County and agencies outside of Washington County requesting mutual aid assistance from the SWAT team. Critical incidents are defined as follows:
- Hostage Situation
- Barricade Situations
- Sniper Situations
- High Risk Apprehension
- High Risk Warrant Service
- Personal Protection
- Special Assignments deemed necessary by the Chief Law Enforcement Officers Board based upon a high level of threat.
The Washington County SWAT team offers a challenging career development opportunity for every qualified officer or deputy in this county. It develops a resource within each department for officers who become capable of teaching tactical thinking and risk management to other officers as related to enforcement situations.