Pima Regional SWAT operators ready to handle any emergency - Tucson News Now

Pima Regional SWAT operators ready to handle any emergency

TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) -

The Pima Regional SWAT team commander, Lt. John Stuckey said the incident in California involving the former LAPD officer highlighted why it was important for local SWAT teams to be ready to respond to any type of emergency.

"My heart goes out to the officers and their families, for those that lost their lives.  It is stressful to think about this kind of stuff.  That's why we train as hard as we do, and that's why we spend the money we need to get it done as safely as possible," said Lt. Stuckey.

The Pima Regional SWAT Tactical team comprised of seven different agencies, including Pima County, Oro Valley, Sahuarita, the Airport, and Pasqua Yaqui.

Officials said the team had 38 tactical operators and 20 negotiators.

It's a competitive team to get on.  Officials said every SWAT operator had to have at least two years of law enforcement experience before they are eligible to take the test.  They have to be physically fit, a firearms expert, and they are extensively questioned in how they would handle stressful situations.

"What we select for, train for, hire for is people that can make solid decisions especially in regards to use of force," said Lt. Stuckey.
All of the SWAT officers usually have another job working as a police officer or deputy, and are called into action when the SWAT team is needed.  They go into each situation knowing the crisis could take anywhere from minutes, to hours or even days in some cases.
Stuckey said the Regional SWAT team responded to an average of 50-60 calls a year.  Majority of their operations involved high risk warrant services and high risk arrests.  They also responded to many hostage rescues and barricaded subjects.
Stuckey said the best case scenario for them was to keep themselves safe, the public safe, and also the "bad guy" safe, but that did not always turn out to be the case.
The Regional SWAT team has not had any operator deaths since they were formed several years ago.
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