The S.E.D. selection process consists of shooting skills, physical conditioning assessment, background investigation, interview and a high stress basic tactical training academy. As part of the S.E.D., the exact nature of each task is unknown. The selection process attempts to identify the right person for the right job. Individuals form a foundation upon which training can be built, through life experience.

SED Training

The department’s Basic S.W.A.T. Academy is a high-stress academy. The misunderstanding of this stress phase of the assessment/selection process results from the fact that, on the surface, it appears to be little more than a test of physical strength and stamina. It consists of an initial phase that has a break down period where all candidates will reach a common level of physical exhaustion. This stress produces individual reaction as the stress is facilitated by physical fatigue. A clear assessment can then be made of individuals emotional reaction to increased demands.

The physical exhaustion will discriminate between those who have character, real determination, self-discipline and self-sacrifice, and those who do not. Most candidates at the point of exhaustion will look for excuses to quit and will slow down or begin to hope they injure themselves. Some will fabricate injuries in order to rationalize their withdrawing from the stressors. Others will have the sense of purpose, the courage, the self-discipline, the sheer will, the guts to reach down deep inside for that intangible trait that enables them to carry on.

SED with ASTREA helicopter

S.E.D. is looking for students that can say, “I gave it my best ... I applied my full value and total effort to what I did and I have no regrets.”

We hope the candidates find and use the inner strength that they never knew existed. We want the person that likes overcoming fear while doing something difficult. These strengths will save their lives during times of extreme stress. We teach them not to give up on themselves. “When the going gets tough the tough gets going.”

The main purpose of the academy is to train and develop deputies to become future S.E.D. team members. However, in the past the academy students have come from different agencies including the El Cajon Police Department, National City Police Department, Escondido Police Department, Chula Vista Police Department, U.S. Navy, U.S. Marines, U.S. Army, Army National Guard, U.S. Coast Guard, I.N.S., U.S. Customs, U.S. Border Patrol, Department of Justice, Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms, Federal Bureau of Investigation and the U.S. Marshal’s Office.

If you are a law enforcement officer or a member of the U.S. Armed Services and are interested in attending the San Diego Sheriff’s Department Basic S.W.A.T. Academy contact the Special Enforcement Detail at (619) 956-4900.

Members of the U.S. Military may attend the Basic SWAT Academy on orders from their Command, based on availability. Military members discharging from the military do not receive a streamlined process onto the Special Enforcement Detail. They must be hired by the San Diego County Sheriff and meet the basic minimum requirements as set forth by the Special Enforcement Detail.