Gun Safety Advocates! SWAT’s Been Renamed!

mister3d doesn’t miss a trick. Scanning the horrific story 8 Found Dead, Including 5 Children, After Stand Off in Harris County, Texas at, the TTAG reader caught this little gem: “[Harris County Sheriff’s Deputy Thomas] Gilliland said officers were called to the house in Harris County just after 9 p.m. Saturday, and upon arrival discovered that the man inside had an outstanding warrant for the aggravated assault of a family member. He said the High Risk Operations Unit was then called in to run the arrest, but officers decided to move in after seeing the body of a child through a window.” The what? Let’s have a look [via] . . .

[Sheriff Adrian] Garcia said in a released statement Monday [January 25, 2010]: “I can’t help bring my agency into the 21st century without first adopting 20th century crime-fighting techniques, such as a high-risk tactical unit that can be used to defend the 1.4 million people who rely on us to answer their emergency calls.”

Harris County Sheriff's Office High Risk Operations Unit (courtesy Facebook)

Doguim emphasized that Harris County no longer should just rely on other agencies and should, in fact, be ready to help its law enforcement brethren respond to large-scale disasters — a Columbine-style high school shooting, a series of simultaneous terrorist attacks such as the ones in Mumbai in 2008, or riots. He also suggested that as the agency responsible for security at the Port of Houston, the sheriff’s office needs to have a team in place to respond to a terrorist attack.

“If, God forbid, there are multiple incidents around the city or the country, we too have to be able to step up to the law enforcement table,” Doguim said.

The sheriff’s departments of Travis, Bexar and Tarrant counties have SWAT teams. Travis County has two, one for the jails and one for the streets. Tarrant County’s sheriff has direct jurisdiction over only about 40,000 people, said the department’s executive administrator, Terry Grisham.

And so Garcia got his wish [above]. We so missed this one. As we learned recently, SWAT originally stood for Special Weapons and Attack Team. LA Chief Gates made it politically correct by modifying the name to Special Weapons and Tactics. And six years ago (or more) some bright spark rechristened SWAT as HROU (High Risk Operations Unit).

The even more PC nomenclature didn’t take – at least far as this gun blogger has seen. Until now. As the headline posits, I wonder if gun control – sorry, “gun safety” advocates will buy in, what with the cops using “assault rifles” and all. Hey! Maybe it’s time to rename them! How does “modern sporting rifles” grab you?


  1. avatar Geoff PR says:

    “SWAT originally stood for Special Weapons and Attack Team.”

    It’s ‘Special Weapons and Tactics’.

    1. avatar Vhyrus says:

      I made the same mistake, but if you watch the video in the other piece the creator of swat admits it was originally supposed to be Special Weapons Attack Team before someone with more political correctness suggested he change it.

      1. avatar Geoff PR says:

        Thanks, I stand corrected…

  2. avatar ThatGuyYouKnow says:

    In the late 70’s a local county sheriffs group was called the Fast Action Response Team. F.A.R.T. No joke.

    1. avatar doesky2 says:

      It’s rumored that FART was the backup name to their first name….

      Tactical Weapons Attack Team

    2. avatar Stinkeye says:

      Did they train in stealthy techniques so they could be silent but deadly?

  3. avatar Mecha75 says:

    Of course they had to rename it. They no longer used “special weapons” as most LEOs are now outfited with the same equipment.

    1. avatar Hannibal says:

      Boy, I must be missing out!

  4. avatar MiketheHopsFarmer says:

    And let me guess that HRO Unit is pronounced ‘Hero Unit?’

    1. avatar Benny the Jew says:

      Man, that’s exactly what I was thinking. If they start referring to these guys as “Hero Units” I’m going to puke.

      1. avatar FedUp says:

        I don’t pay too much attention to the names they give themselves.

        I just call them “death squads”.

      2. avatar LikeISeeIt says:

        “High Risk Operations Unit”


        There, now it -literally- spells HERO. Orwell would be .. proud?

    2. avatar johannes paulsen says:


      You know, just like CHiPs!

  5. avatar Danny Griffin says:

    As an engineer we never pose with our calculators (or old school slide rules), so why…never mind.

    1. avatar boardsnbikes says:

      Imagine the escalation of calculators, CPU boards, measurement equipment and outlandishly sexist shirts.

    2. avatar tmm says:

      Was that a high capacity calculator?

      1. avatar Lurker_of_lurkiness says:

        this baby has a wordsize of 256 bits!

      2. avatar Roger V. Tranfaglia says:

        It was a high capacity CAPACITOR!!! Put your glasses back on! Or are you too lazy to tape them up…AGAIN…..

  6. avatar dh34 says:

    To be fair, the Sheriff’s Dept has responsibility for security of a good portion of the Houston Ship Channel. Much of the funding for the SWAT/HRO team comes for that purpose. Roughly 40 percent of the nations refining and more than half of other petro-chem production happens in that area. You could do some significant damage if you knew what you were doing down there. That is one area I want well trained and equipped response.

    1. Point of Libertarian Snideness: Shouldn’t the owners of the petro-chem plants pony up directly for their own security?

      1. avatar Roymond says:


      2. avatar neiowa says:

        What do you suppose a refinery pays in property taxes per year??

      3. avatar dh34 says:

        Actually they do. Local taxpayers only foot part of the bill. DHS grants cover some stuff but a large part of the response bill comes from an assessment levied on the channel industries to create basically a security district. This district supplements HCSO budget. This is different from the Port of Houston security which is limited in jurisdiction.

    2. avatar Nate says:

      I have to agree but given its importance you’d think the state of Texas would just get some highly trained guys from TxDPS and make a special team of whatever. I mean it is an important state interest….I think its strange Harris County didn’t have a SWAT team (or whatever they want to call it). I hope these guys are not a bunch of amateur’s…..I think we all have seen the unfortunate results of that…

  7. avatar Paul53 says:

    “High Risk Tactical Unit” huh. Wearing body armor and riding in military armored vehicles, so I’m guessing that it’s not the LEO’s that are at risk.

    1. avatar OneOfTheGoodGuys says:

      That’s why it’s pronounced: HuRT U

      1. avatar Paul53 says:

        LOL. They can play with names and acronyms all they want. To me, they’re the SQUAT team.

  8. avatar Bob says:

    I will never use their new sanitized euphemism, it will always be SWAT to me.

  9. avatar FedUp says:

    I forget what Lansing, MI’s S.T.A.R.T. is supposed to stand for.
    I also forget who uses the acronym R.E.A.C.T.
    But I do remember that the F.B.I. calls theirs H.R.T. for Hostage Roasting Team and pronounces it “hurt”.

  10. avatar NDS says:

    Here in St. Louis it’s MR – “Mobile Reserve” – comprised of mostly former JSOC guys.

    1. avatar Nate says:

      That sounds super ninja and mysterious….Is that the county or the city? Or is that for both? I know St. Louis County Police and the City Police share some resources.

  11. avatar Chris M. says:

    Here in Howell county, Missouri it’s the Sheriff’s Emergency Response Team or SERT.

    And the REACT with which I was a familiar in the sixties stood for Radio Emergency Associated Communications Teams and was made up of volunteer CB radio enthusiasts and Ham radio operators organized to provide emergency communications in the event of natural or other disasters.

  12. avatar DJ says:

    Regardless of what they call them, this is actually a great example of a good deployment. Barricaded suspect, possible hostage situation. This is what these guys are supposed to be doing, not kicking in your door at 2AM because they spend most of their time serving warrants and they got the wrong address.

  13. avatar Nate says:

    Haha my old town’s police department is a great agency, really, over half of the guys are prior service with a large number still in the reserves and/or with some serious experience. Anyways the next town over has a slightly larger population with more metro areas so they have a big SWAT team, my town shares the range and certain jurisdiction and equipment logistics with the adjacent town but they call it the EST or Emergency Situation Team. I guess everyone has to be unique 😀 I remember being a part of their training at a local school where they used simunitions, lets just say I hope they call the county in if something real bad happens 😛 Of course that was a couple of years ago so maybe they have gotten better.

  14. avatar Bill Kohnke says:

    How about Crisis Reaction And Policing?

  15. avatar Roymond says:

    Isn’t “Hrou” Kzinti for “Oh, fuck…..”?

    1. avatar DJ says:

      Scream and leap, brother. Scream and leap.

      Or, “Banzaiiiii!”

  16. avatar Stinkeye says:

    So now the headlines will have to be changed to “HROU Shoots Innocent Man’s Dog At Wrong Address”?

  17. avatar bob says:

    KDABB killing dogs and burning babies.

  18. avatar Chadwick P. says:

    The term SWAT just makes them another alphabet gang on my list. Hide your dogs, hide your wife, and all that. Any acronym or word besides police will be described as anything but protectors.

  19. avatar Another Robert says:

    Hell, Angelina County SO has a SWAT team, I’m kind of staggered that Harris County SO didn’t have one. Burleson, Texas (a wide spot in the road off IH 35–and I do mean “off”) got a SWAT team some time back, made the news because they put a female officer on it. The Social Security Admin and the EPA have SWAT teams. How did the Harris County SO last so long without one? BTW, RF, those cops don’t carry “assault weapons”, they carry “patrol rifles” or “personal defense weapons”, no? It’s only when you or I carry one that it becomes an assault weapon.

  20. avatar Jonathan - Houston says:

    Fun with euphemisms and cutesy acronyms aside, the fact remains that this unconscionable horror of a human being was free to walk the streets.

    He has a staggering long criminal record, including felonies, misdemeanors, domestic violence orders, and violent attacks on intimate partners, going back decades.

    Key take aways:

    The police cannot save everyone.

    Laws cannot decisively prevent determined killers, known violent offenders and prohibited possessors from obtaining or retaining firearms.

    You are your own first line of defense, especially you ladies, in terms of vetting whom you allow into your lives.

    Perimeter defense is vital. This woman changed all the door locks, but someone left a window unlocked, allowing the killer an entry point.

    A self defense firearm must be part of your personal security plan, especially if you’re already being targeted by a known violent offender.

    The tuition paid for these lessons was extremely high this weekend. Don’t waste the education.

    1. avatar Danny Griffin says:

      Key take aways:

      Don’t have boyfriends, spouses, or baby-daddies with twenty years worth of felonies and run-ins with the law!

      WTH is wrong with some women?

      1. avatar Roymond says:

        Probably they grew up in the sort of economic conditions the GOP loves to foster and the Dems love to exploit: extreme poverty. Thus they’re accustomed to not being able to have good things and grabbing at whatever is available.

        1. avatar Danny Griffin says:

          The GOP fosters extreme poverty? Tell that to my 401K.

        2. avatar Roymond says:

          They love low wages the lower the better. They love laws that target the poor, especially with fines.

          Yes, the GOP loves to foster poverty. It’s ridiculous, since it drives people to vote Democrat, but they do.

        3. avatar Danny Griffin says:

          What fines?

        4. avatar Roymond says:

          Wow — like many GOP supporters, you apparently don’t live in the real world. Fines for everything from working on your car while it’s parked on the street to having an RV more than five years old parked where it’s visible to the public…. fines that will get your thrown in jail if you miss a payment, then court costs, and jail costs, and (if they can afford it) bail costs, and on and on. Recently here we got codes establishing fines if your dog’s leash isn’t the right length, or the collar isn’t deemed strong enough — more fines targeting those the people who pass the rules know can’t afford to pay.

        5. avatar Danny Griffin says:

          So you think all of those are Republican fines, and Democrats are innocent? Hahaha….

        6. avatar Jonathan - Houston says:

          Fostering school choice via vouchers so minorities can escape the clutches of failing schools and obtain a real education?

          Imposing lifetime limits on welfare so families can break the cycle of dependency?

          Opposing increases in the minimum wage, which only serves to price minorities with no education and no experience out of the job market where they could otherwise acquire both and increase their earnings?

          These are major Republican policies empowerering minorities and uplifting them from poverty. You have it all wrong, my friend. Well, you were right about Democrats exploiting perpetually impoverished minorities.

      2. avatar Roger V. Tranfaglia says:

        Women’s brains are wired differently than ours (mens). Like us, a lot of it has to do with how they are raised…..

  21. avatar Bob109 says:

    Few decades ago, we (USAF SP) called it EST (Emergency Services Team). But, of course, we are talking the military, so our EST was far more “subdued” (less armed) than our other response options, if you know what I mean. As you can imagine, we had a concept termed “the minimum force necessary to accomplish the task”, so I can count the number of times the EST team had been deployed on 1 hand during a 7-year period.

    1. avatar Roymond says:

      I’ve seen that abbreviated MFN. Interestingly, it’s also, according to my engineer siblings and the engineer spouses, an engineering term! On top of that, a contractor I worked with briefly on demolitions (not the kind that go “Boom!”) used it.

      It’s an elegant concept. Cops should be held to it or be liable to be sued — personally.

  22. avatar Nelson says:

    Here’s more apt one: NSOWGT

    Nazi Stahlhelm-donning Operator Wannabe Govt Terrorists!


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