Fresno Police Department
Special Weapons and Tactics
The mission of the Fresno Police Department SWAT Team is to support the Fresno Police Department with a tactical response to critical incidents.
The SWAT Team responds to such critical incidents as:
- Hostage Situations
- Barricaded Armed Subjects
- Sniper Situations
- Armed resistance by Subjects
- High Risk Warrant Service
- Personal Protection (Dignitaries or People in Danger)
- Special Assignments by Chief of Police
History of SWAT
Since 1974, the Fresno Police Department’s Special Weapons and Tactics Team (SWAT) has provided a ready response to situations that were beyond the capabilities of normally equipped and trained Department members. During this time the Fresno SWAT Team has affected the arrest of hundreds of violent criminals and received scores of commendations.
The SWAT Team was established in response to an increasing number of incidents involving armed suspects who had the desire to engage officers as well as the ability and equipment to do so. This point was sadly proven when Sergeant Sal Mosqueda stopped his patrol car in front of a residence unknown to him to be occupied by two suspects that had just committed an armed robbery. Sergeant Mosqueda was killed and the subsequent firefight between the suspects and responding officers resulted in the suspect’s death and the destruction of the house after hundreds of rounds from all types of weapons were fired. The Fresno Police Department recognized the need for a formally trained group of officers to respond to critical types of incidents like the one that took Sergeant Mosqueda’s life.
The first SWAT team consisted of six members. These members received training from the FBI at the F.B.I. Academy in Quantico VA. The current SWAT Team is made up of 26 members. The team is broken donwn into two six-person entry elements each lead by a sergeant, one ten-person perimeter team, also lead by a sergeant and four snipers. The snipers are directed by a sniper coordinator who is also a sergeant assigned to the Command Vehicle. A Lieutenant commands the team.
Selection And Training
SWAT is a co-lateral duty. Team members have regular assignments throughout the Police Department. When the SWAT Team is activated the team members are released from their regularly assigned duties until the SWAT operation is concluded.
Before an officer can apply for a position on the SWAT Team, they must have at least 4 years as a police officer, with at least 2 with the Fresno Police Department. The applicant then competes a rigorous testing process, ranging from testing of their physical fitness, firearms skill, work history and an interview before the Team Commander and Sergeants.
Team members initially attend a California POST recognized basic training course that consists of a wide range of skills developed over 80 hours. Team members take part in 20 hours of training per month. This training focuses on the skills required by each member’s particular role such as weapons skills, searching of both buildings and open areas, hostage recovery operations, dignitary protection and vehicle operations. The team has also trained in helicopter operations and rural operations involving land navigation and cold weather survival as well as other team building exercises.
The four team members assigned as snipers attend a basic sniper course as well as advanced training courses. Snipers train on moving targets, firing through barriers, and precision shooting to 400 yards.
The SWAT Team also trains with the Crisis Negotiators from the Fresno Police Department and SWAT Teams from allied agencies.