Friday, September 16, 2011

Richmond Police Welcomes SWAT Conference to City

About 1,000 SWAT Team members from across the country and around the world will converge on Richmond in a few days. But don’t be alarmed.

Richmond Police will be a first-time host to the National Tactical Operations Conference at the Greater Richmond Convention Center next week, Sept. 18 through 23. The week will include training for law enforcement officers in SWAT tactical operations and crisis negotiations.

“Events like this generate positive economic activity for our city,” stated Mayor Dwight C. Jones. “Bringing visitors to our city for conferences and conventions or just as tourists is a high priority and we are honored to have the opportunity to host this conference for the first time.”

“We are proud to host this annual conference in Richmond and to have the chance for our officers to demonstrate their expertise in SWAT operations,” Chief Bryan T. Norwood said. “A SWAT Team can be an advantageous resource in community policing and we plan to offer our efforts and successes as a paradigm for other agencies.”

Along with seminars at the Convention Center, the entire Metropolitan Richmond area will serve as the training ground for the conference, with attendees participating in various live scenarios at secured locations throughout the city and in the surrounding counties. The public will not be affected by any of the training operations.

The SWAT – Special Weapons and Tactics – Team concept originated in the late 1960s as a result of several sniper incidents against civilians and police officers across the country. The first formal SWAT team was established by the Los Angeles Police Department in 1968.

Richmond Police followed suit five years later in 1973 with a team of six officers. Today, Richmond’s SWAT Team boasts more than 20 officers and 11 negotiators. Richmond Police also made history as it welcomed its first female SWAT Team member, one of an elite group in the country, in January of this year.