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A Short History of SWAT & SED (continued)

Actually, the Department formed two separate teams, in north and east county, made up of many deputies with prior military experience who had seen combat in Vietnam. The Department was feeling its way through the concept of special weapons and tactics (SWAT). Most of the equipment the teams used were provided by the deputies. Coni Grayson, one of the original SWAT team members, said that it wasn't until a barricaded suspect/hostage callout in Oceanside and a subsequent Grand Jury investigation that the Department changed the tactical team's structure, organization and support, for the better. The two teams were formed into one, the department started to provide equipment, and a focus on preparation and training became the standard.

In 1982, the part-time SWAT team evolved into the full-time Special Enforcement Detail (SED) with 18 deputies, two sergeants and a lieutenant as SWAT commander. Even in the eighties and early nineties, deputies assigned to SED still had to purchase many of their own uniforms and gear.

SED has been augmented since the mid-nineties by the Special Response Team (SRT), which is comprised of 16 part-time deputies who train with SED at least two days per month. Retired Assistant Sheriff Earl Wentworth was the SED Lieutenant at the time and felt that the SRT concept was long overdue. "What with vacations, out-of-county training, injuries and sick days, sometimes we couldn't muster enough deputies to handle the basics on a callout", he said.

In addition to SRT, the Sheriff's tactical team has long had a reserve deputy component that has been instrumental in performing key roles during callouts, critical incidents and training. Former SED Sergeant John Pokorny, a 24-year veteran of the unit stated, "Without the Reserves, we wouldn't be able to manage all the key elements of a tactical response. They have played a very important role on our team for decades."

Since the transition to a full-time team, all SRT and SED deputies have had to complete a high-stress, two-week SWAT Academy that is without any doubt, the toughest, most demanding training regimen the Sheriff's Department offers. The SWAT Academy is put on at least once a year and attracts numerous outside agency personnel as well as SDSO SED applicants.

Today's SED handles a variety of calls and services including investigative support, dignitary protection, crowd control, high-risk warrant service and directed patrol along with providing active shooter, mobile field force and WMD training to the department. SED is one of the few teams that participates in the Metropolitan Medical Strike Team for Weapons of Mass Destruction. The current SED roster includes 2 sergeants, 8 full-time corporals and 16 part-time SRT deputies under the command of Lt. Greg Carpenter.

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