Recognizing that the presence of a highly trained, highly skilled police tactical unit has been shown to substantially reduce the risk of injury or loss of life to citizens, police officers and suspect; and recognizing that a well-managed team response to critical incidents usually results in successful resolution of critical incidents, it is the intent of the SWAT (Special Weapons and Tactics Team) to provide a highly trained and skilled team as a resource for the handling of critical incidents.
Members of the Orange County Sheriff's Office are entrusted with protecting our citizens, but sometimes there are extremely dangerous situations that are too risky for regular officers. When these types of events take place, there must be a specialized unit in place to handle these situations. The Sheriff's Office started a Special Response Team in the late 90s as a response to the school shootings that were becoming more frequent, one of which being Columbine. The team was provided used equipment and expired bulletproof vests donated from North Anna Power Station. The team did what they could to get equipment from anywhere that it could. In 2007, a member of our community, who has a son in the armed forces, donated enough money to buy our team members new bulletproof vests, armor plates, and helmets. Our team has been given numerous donations from our businesses in the county to keep the team running. New equipment has been purchased to include uniforms, radio headsets, breaching tools, and weapons. Our team is comprised of approximately 10 members, to include a S.W.A.T. medic. We have negotiators, and a sniper element. Members of this specialized unit have all volunteered. There is no stipend in pay for the extra responsibility, and are on call 24/7. Members of our team have attended a DCJS approved S.W.A.T. Basic, and several members have been through an advanced school put on by Harrisonburg PD. There are also members on the team that have extensive military training. The Sheriff's Office S.W.A.T. has good working relationships with our surrounding jurisdictions, and with our Virginia State Police Tactical Team.
Donations to our team are always greatly appreciated, because without them we could not operate. In times of economic strain things get cut out, and equipment is expensive. Although it is expensive, this equipment could save a life. We have all seen bad things in the news, and know that there are people out there capable of anything. We want to be prepared if something bad were to happen in our community. If anyone has old houses not being used or property where we can train, please contact Capt. Jason Smith at (540) 672-1200.
Special Appreciation for Donations:
- Purcell's Custom Firearms, Inc.
- Battlefield Farms, Inc.
- American Color, Inc.
- Williams Company
- Berry General Mech Contracting
- Rappahannock Electric Cooperative
- Performance Auto Crafters
- Barboursville Winery
- Citizens' Police Academy Alumni