The Palm Springs Police Department Special Weapons and Tactics Team (S.W.A.T.) was formed in 1978 to provide a tactical police response to situations that were beyond the capabilities of normally equipped and trained Department personnel. In 1997, the Cathedral City Police Department joined the S.W.A.T. Team to consolidate resources and serve both the cities of Palm Springs and Cathedral City. In 2014, the Indio Police Department joined forces with the Palm Springs and Cathedral City S.W.A.T. Team to form Desert Regional S.W.A.T..
Desert Regional S.W.A.T. serves the cities of Palm Springs, Cathedral City, and Indio. The three cities share overlapping demands for police responses, often to high-risk/critical incidents which require the specialized attention of a team trained specifically to be effective in highly volatile situations. The assignment of each member of the team is considered an auxiliary assignment to their primary assignment on the Police Department that they are employed with.
Desert Regional S.W.A.T. recognizes that mutual aid and cooperation in response to critical incidents can be enhanced and made more flexible and effective by combining forces of Tactical Team Members, Tactical Emergency Medical Services, Crisis Negotiators, and Tactical Dispatchers.
Desert Regional S.W.A.T. is comprised of highly trained personnel, each of whom can assume varied responsibilities with a high degree of expertise and proficiency. The team is prepared to assume full control of specific tactical situations which, by nature, would be considered excessively dangerous and complex, or which would require the use of a specialized team effort rather than independent action by individual officers. Practically speaking, the team is organized as a crisis intervention team with both negotiation and assault capabilities.
Negotiations initiated by the team employ modern psychology and negotiation techniques. Stress, logical reasoning, time, utility control, barter and other concepts, tools and devices might be used to ease a crisis. Assault tactics employed by the team reflect police strategy of handling and dealing with situations involving confrontations with potentially dangerous suspects. The concept of "apprehension of the suspect" is accomplished through the primary discipline of approaching each situation as a "life saving mission". The goal of the team is to accomplish each mission without injury or death resulting from the unit's intervention. Foremost in the minds of the members is the preservation of life and safety of the communities that the team serves.
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The Palm Springs Police Department personnel assigned to Desert Regional S.W.A.T. are supervised by Palm Springs Police Lieutenant Gus Araiza, who is one of the three Desert Regional S.W.A.T. Commanders.
Lt. Gustavo Araiza