S.W.A.T. is an acronym for Special Weapons And Tactics. The purpose of the Green Bay Police Department SWAT is to respond to all high risk incidents that have become too complex for the initial responding officers. These incidences may have become too complex for a number of reasons, such as the violence of the possible suspect(s), the weaponry possessed by the subject(s), and the known criminal history of the suspect(s).
The Green Bay Police Department SWAT team has its early roots in the late 1970’s. It was developed in response to a national trend that was sweeping across the country in dealing with the civil unrest of the late 60’s and early 70’s. This initial SWAT team eventually faded from existence. However, in 1982, the concept of a SWAT team was reborn and has become the official beginnings of today’s SWAT team.
Initially, the SWAT team was developed as an answer to the wide spread Civil Unrest that was taking place across the country. However, the training and expertise of the SWAT team is constantly evolving to meet the needs of modern day events. Currently, the SWAT team is very skilled in handling Barricaded Subjects, Hostage Crisis Situations, Waterborne Threats, Vehicle and other Mobile threats, and, most recently Terrorist Threats.
As a result of the events that occurred in New York, Washington D.C., and Pennsylvania on September 11, 2001, the State of Wisconsin decided to strengthen its defenses against these types of attacks. In doing so, the State of Wisconsin has designated eight local SWAT teams as regional SWAT teams with the responsibility to respond to catastrophic events throughout the State of Wisconsin. The State of Wisconsin had identified the Green Bay Police Department SWAT team as one of eight such regional teams. The Regional SWAT team concept was later called the Aligned Law Enforcement Response Team, or ALERT.
There are numerous physical and mental requirements expected of an officer to become a member of the Green Bay SWAT team. Once part of the team, each member must maintain top physical and mental condition in order to remain on the team. These physical and mental conditions are tested during monthly trainings that each officer participates in, above and beyond their regular assignment within the Green Bay Police Department.
The SWAT team is made up of several different Divisions of the Green Bay Police Department. Within the SWAT team are members from the Detective Division, Community Police, and Patrol Officers. The SWAT team is comprise of Commanders, Tactical Members, Negotiators, and Translators of Spanish and other languages. The Green Bay SWAT team is commanded by Captain Brad Florence, with assistance from Assistant Commanders Keith Gering and Rob Korth.