The Houston SWAT team was established in the early 1970's to deal with a variety of circumstances the average patrol officer was not equipped to handle. It was originally staffed as a part time unit, but over the years the team has evolved into a very specialized full time unit with state of the art equipment to assist in its mission. The goal of the SWAT team is to save lives, and officers within the unit routinely go above and beyond to accomplish their objective.
Houston's SWAT team is dedicated to a high level of professionalism through constant and realistic training. Officers must maintain a consistent and elevated level of proficiency with all tactics, weapons systems, as well as a myriad of various, high tech equipment.
Tryouts for the team are generally held once a year. Officers must also maintain physical strength and endurance. A physical test is given at random every few months. Officers must have at least three years in patrol before they can apply for the team. If accepted, an officer will be placed on the part time team while he maintains his current position within the department. Upon making this team, the officer will train with full time officers one week of every month to learn the skills necessary to do the job. Once on the full time team, an officer will be trained to become and Assaulter or Marksmen, depending on the needs of the unit and his individual skill level.
Houston SWAT officers spend much of their time training other officers outside the division as well. SWAT officers are also tasked with training other specialized divisions when the need arises.