Fresno Police Department
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
- Aircraft Hijackings
- 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 FBI Academy in Quantico, Virginia. The SWAT team is currently staffed by 30 members, which include a Team Commander (Lieutenant), Assistant Team Commander (Lieutentant), four Team Leaders (Sergeants) and twenty-four operators. The team is broken down into three different elements which include, entry, containment and snipers. We are fortunate to have several support elements in place to assist our team during call outs. These support elements consist of seven “bus crew” members, four American Ambulance STAR Rescue Paramedics, and our own trauma surgeon.
Selection and Training
Officers interested in becoming a SWAT Team member must have at least four years of experience as a police officer before they can participate in the testing process. The selection process consists of two different phases. The first phase consists of an evaluation of the candidate’s physical fitness and firearms skills. The second phase consists of two separate oral interviews where candidates are evaluated on leadership, department policy, use of force and other questions that test the officer’s decision making ability.
After selection and assignment, new team members are required to attend an 80 hour, POST certified, basic SWAT school before they are allowed to deploy on call-out’s as a team member. Team members take part in 20 hours of training per month. This training focuses on firearms training, sniper/counter sniper operations, building/open area searches, hostage rescue, chemical munitions deployment, dignitary protection, rural operations, land navigation, helicopter operations as well as other team building exercises.