The Bergen County Police Department Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) Team provides the primary response to high-risk incidents involving hostages, barricaded suspects, anti-sniper situations, and specialized support in the riot control environment. All members of the Bergen County Police SWAT Team come from within the ranks of the Bergen County Police, and perform the SWAT function in addition to their other day-to-day duties within the Department. The SWAT Team was formed in 1974 to provide the highly specialized skills necessary for a modern, critical incident response. To date the SWAT Team has responded to more than 400 high-risk incidents.
The SWAT Team has responded to some of the most serious hostage and barricaded suspect incidents in the United States, and has a record of outstanding performance. Although the Unit has conducted well over 500 operations, several stand out as unique. The Ridgewood Post Office incident on October 10, 1991 involved a heavily armed gunman who was in possession of explosives, machine guns, large quantities of ammunition, and deadly cyanide gas producing compounds. Another highly critical incident occurred on December 23-24, 1993 at the Jade East motel in South Hackensack involving a heavily armed gunman who held his common-law family hostage for 15 hours. The SWAT Team resolved both of these incidents and hundreds of others, of extremely high risk, successfully.
THE SWAT TEAM TODAY
Currently the Bergen County Police Department SWAT Team maintains the ability to respond to high risk incidents, throughout Bergen County, at any hour of the day or night, regardless of weather. The Team is on 24-hour call-out 7 days a week. In addition to response to critical incidents, the SWAT Team conducts regular training within the Department, and trains with other agencies. The Team is equipped to handle a wide array of tactical incidents including modern threats such as initial response to terrorist incidents, and scenarios involving the use of chemical or biological weapons. The SWAT Team maintains a close working relationship with a wide variety of other law enforcement agencies in and around Bergen County, including many Federal Agencies.
The Bergen County Police Department, through the SWAT Team, has several cooperative projects, which yield a very high level of service to the citizens of Bergen County without incurring significant cost. In many cases, these special projects are provided free to the citizens of the County.
One such project is the Emergency Trauma Response Team (E.T.R.T.), which is a cooperative project between the Bergen County Police Department and Hackensack University Medical Center. A cooperative agreement between the Medical Center and the County Police has led to the first Tactical Medical Response Unit in the County. The Medical Center covers the cost of all salaries and medical equipment. The E.T.R.T. is composed of a Trauma Surgeon, Anesthesiologist, and Emergency Physician, who are supported by Trauma Nurses and Paramedics. The E.T.R.T. is dispatched immediately with all SWAT operations and is under the direct command of the SWAT Commander. This is the first time Emergency Medical capabilities are provided within a “Hot Zone” during SWAT operations.
The Bergen County Police SWAT Team is tasked with the responsibility to support the Bergen County Rapid Deployment Force, Statewide U.A.S.I. Rapid Deployment Teams, which provides large-scale crowd and riot control capabilities. Special skills provided to the R.D.F. include hostage rescue, specialized support equipment, and counter sniper capability.
The Bergen County Police Department SWAT Team is a highly professional, well-equipped and experienced unit ready to respond to any future high-risk law enforcement incident in Bergen County. The Team is training now for contingencies, which could occur well into the future.
The SWAT Team will provide highly trained hostage negotiators and tactical teams for situations such as:
SWAT SYMBOL SIGNIFICANCE
Notched Shield = Front line Roman era shield allowing offensive & defensive capability.
Sword = Justice, Honor and Sacrifice
Sword placed on its handle is a symbol of the unconventional nature of missions where a special force is involved (S.W.A.T).
Lightning Bolt = Swiftness, Power, Speed and Strength
Color Gold = Honor and Celestial Light (will be used for the color of the lightning bolt).
The color of gold in the lightning bolt denotes the uniqueness and wittiness of a special force (S.W.A.T).
Color Blue = Truth and Loyalty (navy blue will be used for the color inside of the shield).
Color Gray = Nobility, Purity and Peace (will be used for the color of the wings)
Latin Inscription = “Pro Iustitia” translated to English means “In Defense of Justice”