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SWAT is an acronym for Special Weapons And Tactics. It is the most commonly known name to the public of a specialized paramilitary police unit in major city police departments who are trained to perform dangerous operations. These can include coordinated attacks on selected targets such as heavily armed criminals in secure locations. They are typically heavier armed than ordinary police officers with submachine guns and high power rifles for snipers.

The Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) pioneered the use of SWAT teams to suppress urban violence and riots in the 1960s. Public awareness of this kind of police unit quickly became well known with the premiere of the short lived but notorious television series S.W.A.T. in the 1970s which was panned as being overly violent and unrealistic with the characters regularly undergoing missions that usually happen only once in a lifetime for actual teams.

See also police paramilitary.

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