Introduction of the Duncanville SWAT Team
The Duncanville Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) team began in 1987 with a group of eight officers who, with the blessing of Police Chief Mike Courville, began SWAT training exercises. At that time, the city did not have a SWAT budget for equipment, so the officers took it upon themselves to purchase necessary items for their safety and to negotiate critical incidents. Overtime the SWAT team honed their skills, and in December of 1993 the Duncanville SWAT team was recognized by U.S. Senator Phil Graham for their diligent work on the war on drugs.
There are incidents where specialized tactics are necessary to minimize casualties. The goal of the SWAT team is to respond quickly to dangerous situations and bring them to a swift and hopefully nonviolent conclusion. The Duncanville Police SWAT team works to professionally resolve life threatening critical incidents, while striving to minimize any negative impact on Duncanville’s residents and visitors. In addition, SWAT is to provide tactical, administrative, and training support to all members of the Department. The intent of the SWAT team is to deliver a rapid, deliberate response to critical incidents, including: Hostage Situations, Barricade Situations, Sniper Situations, High-Risk Apprehensions, High-Risk Warrant Service, Dignitary Protection, and any assignments approved by the Assistant Chief of Police that are of a high-risk level.
Today, the Duncanville SWAT team is comprised of fourteen members consisting of a team commander, primary team leader, assistant team leader, medics, snipers, and entry operators. These highly trained officers are on call 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. In addition to being a member on the SWAT team, the officer also works their regular assignment whether it is patrol or Criminal Investigative Division (CID). The officer must be in excellent physical condition and pass the SWAT physical assessment test annually to maintain membership on the team. The officer must also demonstrate a high proficiency with departmental issued firearms and must pass the bi-annual SWAT firearms qualification.
When a vacancy occurs on the SWAT team, applicants may submit a letter of interest to the team commander. The applicant must have at least 12 months police experience either with Duncanville Police or other commensurate police experience. The applicant must pass the SWAT firearms qualification and the SWAT physical assessment test. If the officer passes both then he or she must appear in an open forum with the team for his or her interview. The officer will answer questions regarding their police experience, performance evaluations, sick leave record, disciplinary record, goals and objectives, and special skills. If the officer passes all phases of the selection process then he or she is recommended to the Assistant Chief of Police for SWAT assignment. If approved, the officer is sent to a 60-hour basic SWAT school where he or she is trained on safety, team organization, breaching, high risk warrants, covert clearing of a structure, vehicle assaults, arrest procedures, and medical. Upon graduation of the basic SWAT school, the officer is placed on call along with the existing team for critical incidents.
The SWAT team conducts 24 hours of training a month. The team trains on a wide variety of topics throughout the year. In 2018, the team conducted 1,551 hours of training, with 63% of this training spent on live fire training at the range. The SWAT team teach all sworn officers how to respond to Active Shooter incidents. In addition, the team instructed city personnel in the Civilian Response to Active Shooter Incidents. In order to stay updated on tactics, the team receives periodical training from former military special operations soldiers who have real world experience with handling critical situations.