Captain John New
Special Operations Commander
The Cherokee Sheriff’s Office Special Weapons and Tactics Team was formed in 1997 in response to school violence incidents across the United States. The original team consisted of ten members. Since it’s inception, the team has expanded to over twice that size with team members possessing specialized skills in high-risk building entry, hostage rescue, gas deployment, breaching, counter-surveillance, electronics, first aid, rappelling, and precision rifle. All team members are required to pass a rigorous physical fitness test and demonstrate elevated shooting skills with a variety of specialized weapons.
Team members routinely attend specialized training courses in tactics, marksmanship, incident command, and rapid deployment at some of the finest training facilities in the United States. The team also engages in regularly scheduled in-service training to continue to refine the skills learned during advanced training. In addition to their tactical training, several of the team members hold certifications as general, firearms, defensive tactics, less lethal munitions, and driving instructors.
Barricaded gunmen, woodland searches, hostage situations, and civil disturbances have been the most common calls for the team, but the on-going threats of school violence, as well as foreign and domestic terrorist activities, are situations that the team continues to prepare for.