Horry County Police SWAT (Special Weapons and Tactics Team) under the command of Captain Kris Leonhardt is part of the Special Operations Division. SWAT consists of 21 Police Officers, 1 team commander and 2 team leaders who are on call 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. The unit's highly motivated and specially trained personnel provide tactical response to hostage situations, barricaded persons, sniper and terrorism incidents, crowd control during major disturbances or civil disturbances, work or school place violence, high-risk search warrant entries for various investigative units, including Narcotics, and Violent Crimes, heavy water rescues and officer down rescues as well as supporting other local, state, and federal agencies upon request.
The SWAT team specializes in various firearms and less than lethal options. They also support departmental precincts by conducting drug emphasis backup and respond with patrol on high-risk calls for service. In addition, SWAT works directly with the department's Explosive Ordinance Division, Bloodhound Tracking Team and Crisis Negotiation Team to resolve hostage incidents non-violently. While the goal of every Police Officer is to save lives and de-escalate the potential for violence, there are times when a violent suspect must be prevented from killing innocent victims or bystanders.
SWAT marksmen are highly trained and disciplined to make precision rifle shots at varying distances. They conduct specialized operations to include reconnaissance, over-watch, and long-range precision marksmanship utilizing purpose-built equipment. The marksmen team conduct monthly training in addition to their SWAT training.
To maintain the skills necessary to handle high-risk situations, SWAT members train rigorously on a bi-weekly basis. Team members receive over 200 training hours annually with specialized firearms and equipment, less lethal options, physical fitness, building entry (to include explosive breaching), building clearing, active shooter training, counter sniper operations, and chemical dispersion.
Individuals interested in testing for SWAT should be prepared for a physically demanding, fast paced environment with the ability to effectively carry-out advanced tactical maneuvers.