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About our Tactical Unit

The primary role of the Tactical Unit is to provide response to the Calgary Police Service (CPS) and community through the use of specialized tactics and resources to resolve high-risk incidents, with the minimum amount of force necessary. Members are required to commit to ongoing training and be on call as required.


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What is the Tactical Unit?

The Tactical Unit is a highly specialized area of the CPS that respond to high risk incidents involving weapons or beyond the scope of a standard patrol response.

Is it the same as the SWAT team?

Yes. Many different police agencies have teams that are called SWAT Teams. The RCMP has ERT (Emergency Response Team) and Toronto has an ETF (Emergency Task Force) as examples. Although named differently, they all perform the same function.

When is the Tactical Unit used?

The Tactical Unit is used:

  • in response to any high risk incidents involving weapons;
  • in the execution of search warrants for different investigative areas; and,
  • assisting the front line patrol officers by adding to their resources.

How often is the Tactical Unit called out?

In 2011, we were involved in more than 300 planned operations in which search warrants were executed or other duties were performed. In addition to that, the Unit attended more than 500 calls for service in 2011.

What types of vehicles are used?

The Unit utilizes a multitude of different vehicles from SUVs and heavy trucks to armoured vehicles.

What weapons does the Tactical Unit use?

Each officer is well versed in the use of a pistol, shotgun and assault rifle. These are basic weapons used by the Unit. Other weapons include sniper rifles and less lethal weapons.

What situations does the Tactical Unit typically train for?

The Tactical Unit trains for many different tasks and situations. To name a few, the Unit trains in warrant execution, hostage rescue, high angle operations, explosive forced entry, explosive disposal, less lethal weapons and sniper/observer operations.

Do you cross-train with other units in the USA like SWAT?

Members from our Unit have trained with the FBI, Canadian and American military, LAPD SWAT, Edmonton Tactical and numerous other agencies. Training with other agencies continually enhances our Unit’s capabilities.

How can I join the Tactical Unit? 

To join the Tactical Unit, a member must be an exceptional patrol officer with a minimum of three years police experience who has consistently demonstrated the skills necessary to be a member of the Tactical Unit.

You must:

  • possess a willingness to work extremely hard and be able to function well within the team environment;
  • be physically fit and commit to ongoing training;
  • be able to be called out with little notice;
  • successfully pass all of the Tactical Unit Fitness Standards as well as the week long Tactical Selection Course; and,
  • be a self starter and work well without supervision.

Do you have to be a certain height and size to join the Tactical Unit?

No. You must successfully pass all of the Tactical Unit Fitness Standards as well as possess all of the qualities listed above.

What’s it like being in the Tactical Unit?

The Tactical Unit is a challenging and rewarding area of the Service to work in.

Once a member is selected to join the Unit, they are immediately immersed into an intense Basic Tactical Operators Course (BTOC) that lasts six months. During this period of time, members are challenged and pushed to limits that were previously unknown to them. Members receive instruction in more than forty-one areas of specialty and are also evaluated on knowledge learned throughout their Basic Training.

Once the BTOC is completed, the member is assigned to one of the teams and is subject to a six month probationary period. During this time, the member must attend a certain number of high risk calls and warrant executions. After the six month probation period has been completed, the member is honoured with an Operator Insignia and a number, signifying their place within the Unit.

Being a member of the Tactical Unit means being a part of an extremely hardworking, close knit team and represents a firm commitment to continually strive for improvement within the Unit and the Service.