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On Monday, November 27, 2012, the California Association of Tactical Officers (C.A.T.O.) selected the Foothills Special Enforcement Team (FSET) as “SWAT Team of the Year” for the State of California. FSET was founded in 2004 as one of the first regional SWAT programs in Los Angeles County. FSET has shown multiple agencies can work cooperatively as a team for the benefit of all the participating communities. FSET is in the eighth year of successful operation and in 2012, was comprised of police personnel from the cities of Glendora, Irwindale, La Verne, Monrovia and San Marino.
FSET has grown from three founding agencies to five agencies contributing personnel and resources to create one of the largest tactical units in Los Angeles County. The Foothills Special Enforcement Team trains twice each month and handles an average of one high-risk mission per month. The team’s abilities have allowed its tactical officers to respond efficiently to complex problems. FSET includes a crisis negotiation team and a sniper team to assist tactical team operators on critical incidents. The combined resources of the five agencies allows for a larger, well prepared and better equipped team than each agency could field by themselves.
The purpose of a SWAT team is to have highly trained and well-equipped officers available to respond to the most dangerous situations. These highly trained team members help provide greater safety for our community members, the police officers responding to the call and for the suspects themselves. The following are examples of three incidents FSET has responded to over the last year:
In December of 2011, FSET responded to an active shooter incident at the Southern California Edison facility in Irwindale. FSET personnel conducted a tactical search
for injured persons and located a victim who was losing a great deal of blood from a gunshot wound. The victim survived, due to the rapid response of the team and the immediate medical care provided.
In June of 2012, FSET responded to a call in the City of Monrovia of a convicted felon with weapons at a residence, threatening to shoot the police. FSET crisis negotiators attempted for hours to get the suspect to give up peaceably. Eventually, the team used tear gas in the residence and the suspect surrendered, unharmed.
In March of 2012, FSET served a high-risk search warrant in the City of Baldwin Park. The suspect was barricaded inside the residence. The team deployed tear gas and the suspect surrendered, unharmed. Four firearms, ammunition, a ballistic vest, black hoods and drugs were located.
These types of incidents underscore the need for a highly trained, well-equipped tactical team like FSET. By working together collaboratively and sharing resources, these five cities have been able to create a well organized, more efficient team at a lesser expense to the individual agency than they could ever have done working independently. The cities of Glendora, Irwindale, La Verne, Monrovia and San Marino thank the California Tactical Officers Association for recognizing the outstanding work of the Foothills Special Enforcement Team by presenting them with the “SWAT Team of the Year Award.”