The SWAT Team is an elite tactical unit in the Sheriff's Office. SWAT deputies are trained to perform high-risk operations that fall outside of the abilities of regular deputies. Team members' duties include but are not limited to:
- Suspected sniper
- Suspected barricaded gunman
- Armed suspect with hostage
- Potential riot situations
- Situations with use of chemical agents
- Protection of Police and Fire Department units involved with mob actions, arsonists, and insurgents
- Rescue of hostages, trapped or isolated officers and civilians
- V.I.P. security
- Any situation which potentially requires the use of the teams specialized operational skills
- Assist in warrant searches and warrant arrests with the prior approval of the Sheriff or designee
The SWAT Team is equipped with specialized weaponry and equipment, in order to bring high-risk and/or critical incidents to a successful conclusion, and reduce the risk of injury or loss of life to citizens, peace officers, and suspects.
The SWAT Team is available to local, regional, state and federal law enforcement agencies upon request, and approval of the Sheriff or his/her designated representative.
The Crisis Negotiations Team (CNT) iscomprised of highly trained negotiators, who through persuasion, communicationand rapport-building, will minimize the need for force, complement the missionof the SWAT Team, and bring the existing crisis to a successful resolution.This team has been specifically trained and equipped to diffuse criticalincidents through the use of verbal communication.
- January 1977:Sheriff's Administration discusses idea to form a team
- April 4,1977: Team commander and leader are sent to FBI Team Leader school
- July 13,1977: Six additional team members of S.E.R.T. (Special Enforcement Response Team) are selected after extensive testing and evaluation for the team
- July 18,1977: Then Sheriff Jess Bowling declares the S.E.R.T. Team operational
- 1982: Sheriff Amis authorizes the Team to be renamed S.W.A.T. and the team grows in size to 10members
- 1989: Sheriff Brockman authorizes the Team to increase 13 tactical members and three negotiators
- 1992: Sheriff Sawyer authorizes S.W.A.T. Team to add two physician’s assistants and one K-9 support
- 1995: The Sheriff's Department opens testing for additional members from other police departments within Merced County.
- 2001: The Team has 13 tactical members including one physician’s assistant, four negotiators, and two K-9 support. Sheriff Carlson updates the team equipment and weapons.
- Fall of 2002: The S.W.A.T. Team grows in dramatically in size to include 20 tactical members, four negotiators, one administrative commander, three tactical dispatchers, and two K-9 support
- Spring of 2003: Sheriff Pazin authorizes the S.W.A.T. Team to increase to 34 members, which includes 24 tactical members, three negotiators, one team physicians assistant, two tactical medics, one S.W.A.T. K-9, and two tactical dispatchers. His support also updates team equipment and weapons for progressive growth.
- As of November 2017: The S.W.A.T. Team includes 24 tactical member, nine negotiators, two tactical medics, two SWAT K-9, Two Tactical Dispatchers, and a drone operator.