S.W.A.T. stands 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 S.W.A.T. team has its early beginnings in 1982, when it was originally called the Emergency Response Unit, or E.R.U. In 1995 the E.R.U. was renamed to S.W.A.T.
Initially, the S.W.A.T. 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 S.W.A.T. team is constantly evolving to meet the needs of modern day events. Currently, the S.W.A.T. team is very skilled in handling Barricaded Subjects, Hostage Crisis Situations, Waterborne Threats, Vehicle and other Mobile threats, and Active Shooters that may occur in a variety of venues.
As a result of the events that occurred in New York, Washington D.C., and Pennsylvania on September 11, 2001, the United States, through the individual state governments, decided to strengthen its defenses against future attacks. In doing so, the State of Wisconsin has designated eight local S.W.A.T. teams as regional S.W.A.T. 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 S.W.A.T. team as one of eight such regional teams. The Regional S.W.A.T. team concept was later renamed the Aligned Law Enforcement Response Team, or ALERT.
To be eligible to become a member of the S.W.A.T. team, an officer must have a minimum of three years of experience as a police officer, pass a rigorous physical agility test, and receive a favorable review of police department peers and command staff. Once selected to 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 bi-monthly trainings that each officer participates in, above and beyond their regular assignment within the Green Bay Police Department. All S.W.A.T. members are available for immediate callout 24/7. The Green Bay Police Department S.W.A.T. team is a very experienced and professional group of officers, some of which have close to three hundred calls for service to their credit.
The most recognizable members of the S.W.A.T. team are the tactical officers. However, equally important to the success of the S.W.A.T. team are the Negotiators, Radio Communication Operators, and Department Translators that are very skilled in resolving situations as peacefully as possible. The Green Bay S.W.A.T. team is commanded by Captain Brad Florence who has been a member of the S.W.A.T. team for 21 years. Assisting the S.W.A.T. Commander are Commanders Lieutenant Keith Gering, Lieutenant Matt Cain, and Lieutenant Matt VanEgeren.