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Pima Regional SWAT

The Oro Valley Police SWAT was established in 1991. The Police Department recognized as the Town grew and the resources available from neighboring agencies decreased, the need for a specialized tactical response unit was necessary. The first team consisted of four officers, one sergeant and the Field Operations Division Lieutenant. As community needs grew, the team expanded to eighteen (18) members in 2000 to include the Field Services Commander, two sergeants, fourteen officers, and a SWAT paramedic from Rural Metro Fire Department. Along with operations conducted within the Town of Oro Valley, Oro Valley SWAT assisted other law enforcement partners including municipal, state and federal agencies.

In August 2004, discussion began regarding the concept of a regional Special Weapons And Tactics (SWAT) team. Initially, the Pima County Sheriff staffed an Implementation Committee with the Chiefs of Police from municipalities within Pima County. The goal was to create a national model for regional tactical law enforcement and to create the largest and most progressive SWAT team in the state. The governing board is made up of Chiefs or their Commander representatives. The Board is the final authority in all SWAT matters to include: budget, policies and procedures, manpower, equipment, etc.

Participating agencies include:

Pima County Sheriff's Department Oro Valley Police Department
Marana Police Department Sahuarita Police Department
Pascua Yaqui Police Department South Tucson Police Department
Tucson Airport Authority  






The objectives of the SWAT Team are as follows:

  • To detail dangerous people while reducing risk to officers
  • Deter resistance with a professional and measured show of overwhelming force
  • Make a dangerous situation safe

The SWAT program is composed of several distinct elements: four tactical squads, two negotiations squads, the Pima Regional Bomb Squad, the Sheriff’s Department Canine Unit and one squad of Tactical Emergency Medical Support (TEMS) medics. These elements work together to resolve dangerous incidents that pose a risk to the lives of the residents of Pima County. These incidents include hostage situations, barricaded subjects, suicidal persons, high-risk arrest situations, high-risk search warrants, and other crimes or situations where the added training and resources of the SWAT team are needed.

The tactical squads are responsible for the service of high-risk warrants, making entry, and effecting the arrest of barricaded subjects. They train a minimum of two days per month in all areas of SWAT operations. Personnel undergo a strenuous selection process prior to being assigned to the team. Members must maintain high standards of physical fitness as well as firearms and tactics proficiency to remain active with the team.

The negotiations squads are responsible for gathering intelligence and conducting crisis negotiations with barricaded subjects and hostage-takers. Negotiators undergo extensive training in the psychology of criminal activity and negotiations in an effort to achieve peaceful resolutions.

The Pima Regional Bomb Squad has been expanded and now includes three elements; Technician Element, Investigative Element and Explosives Detection Canine Element. Administrative and operational functions of the squad are defined in an Intergovernmental Agreement, a Memorandum of Understanding and a detailed 90 page Standard Operating Procedures manual, which has been emulated by squads all over the US.