Tactical Response and Operations Standard

In line with NTOA’s mission, the association first offered the NTOA SWAT Standard in 2008. The document established a basic set of standards for the organization’s member agencies and serves as an efficient, core set of concepts and principles that improve standardization within the profession of tactical law enforcement services.

In 2011, the standard was reviewed, expanded and updated to represent the most contemporary best practices being used. In recent years, tactical law enforcement operations have come under significant scrutiny, and the need for increased standardization and professionalism is more evident than ever before.

Earlier this year, the NTOA Board of Directors authorized another review and update of the NTOA SWAT Standard. A Standard Review Committee was assembled that was comprised of 11 members, each having significant and diverse backgrounds in law enforcement tactical operations, to include five state tactical officer association representatives, a retired police chief, a deputy police chief, two representatives from the FBI and two representatives from the NTOA.

An open comment period was established for NTOA members to offer their input and suggestions. Subsequently, the Standard Review Committee evaluated each of those comments and made changes where necessary. Committee members also agreed that two significant topics were missing from the document: a team typing matrix and a glossary.

Over the last several years, many NTOA members have shared stories about how they had successfully proposed increases to their team’s capabilities by referencing the NTOA standard, but were disappointed that the document did not contain suggested team types. The Standard Review Committee was careful to link these types to previously existing mission capabilities and general assumptions of the most common types of deployments that teams encounter. Including a glossary was also vitally important to ensure that a common language is utilized in training documents, courtroom testimony and between teams during multi-jurisdictional operations.

Because this latest version goes far beyond merely SWAT teams, the document has been renamed the NTOA Tactical Response and Operations Standard. It is important to remember that any agency that chooses to use this standard as a benchmark for performance and operations does so voluntarily.

The NTOA does not mandate compliance with this standard or attach such compliance as a prerequisite for any benefit granted under membership. This and future versions of this standard are living documents. It will require us as an organization to seek out those best practices and ensure that they are accurately reflected in the standard.

Please download and read the NTOA Tactical Response and Operations Standard document. If you have questions or concerns, contact any member of your Board of Directors, and we will ensure that your issues are addressed during the next review and revision process.

Dedication: The Standard is dedicated to the memory of Sergeant Mark J. Renninger of the Lakewood, Washington Police Department (End of watch: November 29, 2009). Sgt. Renninger was a strong advocate for improving standards for SWAT teams and his voice will be missed.

Download the NTOA Tactical Response and Operations Standard document.

Download the companion document “Guide to Writing Standard Operating Procedures for Operations Involving the Combined Resources of Bomb Squads and SWAT Teams” (NTOA Members only)

NTOA Tactical Response and Operations Standard Copyright: All rights reserved. This publication may not be reproduced, in whole or in part, in any form or by any means electronic or mechanical or by any information storage and retrieval system now known or hereafter invented, without prior written permission of the National Tactical Officers Association (NTOA), with the following exception: NTOA staff and training instructors are hereby given permission by NTOA to reproduce any or all of the contents of this manual for internal use within the organization or for training classes. No other individuals, private businesses and corporations, public and private agencies and colleges, professional associations, and law enforcement agencies, may print or download this publication for non-commercial use without permission from the NTOA. Questions about this copyright information or about obtaining permission to use NTOA-developed publications may be addressed to the Executive Director at 1-800-279-9127.