You may have heard of Central County SWAT but might be wondering, what is Central County SWAT and why isn’t it San Ramon PD SWAT? Well, up until the end of 2012 it was San Ramon PD SWAT. We had our own SWAT team but because we are not a large agency, our SWAT team consisted of only 10 or 11 team members. This lack of size limited what could be done as a team and restricted the SWAT related incidents we would be able to properly handle. At the same time, the Police Departments in Martinez and Walnut Creek were both facing similar difficulties. They also had effective, but small and limited, SWAT teams.
In the latter part of 2012, the Martinez, San Ramon, and Walnut Creek Police Departments entered into a joint partnership and the multi-agency Central County SWAT Team was created. We began training as one team in January of 2013 and have been going strong ever since. In December of 2015, the team was fortunate to have officers from the Pleasant Hill Police Department come on board and in June of this year, we again welcomed another agency when officers from the BART Police Department joined the team. The Central County SWAT Team is responsible for SWAT related critical incidents which take place in the cities of Martinez, Pleasant Hill, San Ramon, Walnut Creek, as well as all of the Bay Area Rapid Transit facilities within Contra Costa County. In addition to critical incident response, Central County SWAT is responsible for serving high risk search and/or arrest warrants resulting from criminal investigations conducted by any of these five law enforcement agencies. Central County SWAT is the largest SWAT team in Contra Costa County and our area of responsibility encompasses more individuals that any other team in Contra Costa County.
Each agency involved in this partnership supports Central County SWAT with personnel, equipment, and transportation vehicles. When training or conducting operations, Central County SWAT team members dress in tactical green uniforms with a Central County SWAT patch on their right shoulder and a subdued individual department patch on their left shoulder. If you’re wondering what these uniforms look like, the photo to the left was taken while members of the Central County SWAT Tactical Team participated in the Urban Shield 2016 training excersice. For more information on what Urban Shield provides, please visit their web site at UrbanShield.org.
The mission of Central County SWAT is to safely resolve critical incidents. Law enforcement officers from these five agencies are specifically trained and equipped to work as a coordinated team to resolve critical incidents so hazardous, complex, or unusual they exceed the capabilities of first responders or investigative units. Critical incidents include, but are not limited to, hostage taking, armed barricaded suspects, snipers, terrorist acts, and other high-risk incidents. Central County SWAT is also used for the service of high risk search and arrest warrants where public and officer safety issues merit the use of such a highly trained unit.
The Central County SWAT Team is composed of three units, a Tactical Team, Crisis Negotiation Team, and a Tactical Dispatch Team. The Tactical Team consists of Entry and Sniper Teams. The role of the Entry Team includes: containment, emergency action, and deliberate action during a critical incident or planned event. The role of the Sniper Team is to provide observation, intelligence, and precision marksmanship in tactical situations. The Crisis Negotiation Team is specifically trained in hostage negotiations, intelligence gathering, and conflict management. Negotiation is a tactic used, when appropriate, to resolve, or assist in resolving, a crisis situation. The Tactical Dispatch Team supports the team’s command structure through accurate and timely documentation and by communicating vital information during critical incidents and high risk operations.
Central County SWAT Team members serve on the team as a collateral duty performed in addition to their regular assignments and team members are on call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. San Ramon Police Department Lieutenant Denton Carlson serves as the Commander of the Central County SWAT Team. If you have any questions about the team, feel free to contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.