Special Operations

A special response officer in a camouflage uniform and armor, holding and aiming a rifle.Special Weapons and Tactics

The primary objective of the Santa Paula Police Department Special Weapons and Tactics  (SWAT) is to save lives.

Mission & Philosophy

The mission of the SWAT is to provide highly trained personnel for use in incidents where disciplined teamwork, specialized weapons, and tactical skills are needed to resolve high-risk law enforcement incidents.

The Team’s philosophy is to operate in a way that gives the most protection to involved personnel and provides the greatest degree of safety possible for the public and suspects.

Special Response Team members ascending stairs single file behind an officer holding a tall shield.Responsibilities

The Special Weapons and Tactics team is responsible for the following types of incidents:

  • Arrest of armed or dangerous suspects
  • Barricaded suspects
  • Hostage situations
  • Security for visiting dignitaries and politicians
  • Warrant service where there is a chance of a violent confrontation

Joining the Special Response Team

Appointment to the SWAT involves a rigorous selection process. Before they can apply, officers must have at least 2 years experience as a police officer. The selection process evaluates each candidate’s physical fitness level, firearm’s proficiency, and ability to work in a team setting.

Co-lateral Assignment

The SWAT is a co-lateral assignment. Team members have regular duty jobs such as patrol and detectives. When the SWAT is activated, team members are released from their normal assignment until the SWAT operation is concluded.


Being a member of the SWAT requires a tremendous commitment. The SWAT trains in tactics and firearms each month. SWAT members must also maintain superior physical fitness levels and pass a physical fitness test once each year.