Enhancing SWAT Operations in the Maryland-National Capital Region

Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) teams are a critical law enforcement resource in the Maryland-National Capital Region. Their preparation for response to high threat, escalating law enforcement or terrorism incidents requires significant training, organization, and specialized equipment to efficiently and effectively neutralize or de-escalate threats.

Working with the Montgomery County Police Department (MCPD) Special Operations Division (SOD) Tactical Team and the Prince George’s County Police Department (PGPD) Special Operations Division (SOD) Emergency Services Team (EST), MDERS personnel have identified four sub-capabilities to form the overall SWAT Operations Capability Development. These sub-capabilities are breaching, command, close quarter battle (CQB) and sniper operations.

The breaching sub-capability includes supplies and training to support the use of hand tools, hydraulic breaching tools, and explosives. Each team established a minimum number of personnel to receive this technical training.

The command component consists of SWAT Operations specific Incident Command training ranging from tactical decision-making to escalating, expanding incidents.

CQB provides personnel with the ability to efficiently and effectively clear rooms and buildings of threats in the safest manner possible. This requires substantial team coordination.

Finally, sniper operations ensure each team can provide longer range protection for personnel from threats and the ability to safely neutralize threats from a concealed location or position some distance away. This includes training on various concealment techniques and long-range marksmanship.

MDERS has supported approximately 30+ SWAT trainings in the last several years. The addition of specialized training and equipment is necessary to fulfill the capability in both counties. Enhancement in both areas is financially intensive, requiring a multi- year, phased approach to continue development of the SWAT Operations capability.