Appendix A: Terminology
A law enforcement tactical team can be defined as follows: “A Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) team is any designated group of law enforcement officers who are selected, trained, and equipped to work as a coordinated team to resolve critical incidents that are so hazardous, complex, or unusual that they may exceed the capabilities of first responders or investigative units. The primary characteristic of SWAT that distinguishes it from the other units is the focus of effort. SWAT teams are focused on tactical solutions, as opposed to other functions, such as investigation.”
Various agencies use different terms for this type of specialized law enforcement response teams. This document uses “tactical team” to refer to all such specialized response teams.
In a recent survey, 51.1% of law enforcement agencies referred to their tactical team as Special Weapons and Tactics Team, 14.3% as Special Response Team, 11.1% as Emergency Response Team, 5.2% as Special Emergency Response Team. 16.6% of agencies used other names for their tactical team.