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Agency Participation in Urban Shield, 2014-2018

Regional Participation in Urban Shield SWAT competition, Fire, and CERT scenarios

The Alameda County Sheriff’s Office provided the Alameda County Ad Hoc Committee on UASI with a list of all agencies that have participated in Urban Shield as SWAT, explosive ordnance disposal, HazMat, urban and maritime rescue, EMS, and CERT, not only as teams in Urban Shield, but as hosts and evaluators. This data allows us to see which agencies and jurisdictions have been participating in which parts of Urban Shield and in what capacity. The data does not include information on participation in Yellow Command.

Four of the 12 county sheriff’s departments in the 12-county BAUASI region did not send SWAT teams to Urban Shield or host or evaluate SWAT scenarios during any of the last five years (Sonoma, Monterey, Solano, and San Benito). During the last three years (2016-2018), the sheriff’s department for the most populated county in the region – Santa Clara County - has not participated in Urban Shield SWAT. These five counties represent 3.4 million, or nearly 40 percent of the 8.55 million people in the BAUASI region’s 12 counties (according to 2018 population data).

At the city level, many small jurisdictions do not have SWAT units or even participate in sub-regional units, and so don’t participate in Urban Shield’s SWAT competition. Twenty-six cities in the BAUASI region have participated in Urban Shield SWAT team competitions for all five years (2014-2018), representing 4.6 million of the region’s population; another 88 cities in the region have not participated in Urban Shield SWAT during this time at all, representing 2.7 million of the region’s population.(1)

The number of jurisdictions participating in Fire, EMS and (in the last two years) CERT activities of Urban Shield has been less. Just nine agencies have participated in EMS for more than one of the last five years. Seventy-nine cities and three counties have not sent teams to any of the fire department disciplines of urban and maritime rescue or HazMat. In the first two years of Urban Shield’s CERT activities, just seven cities – with a population under 500,000 – and three counties have participated.

Further review of this data will likely reveal more insights. Discussions with agencies would shed light on why they did or did not participate in different parts of Urban Shield. The data used for this analysis is posted here.

John Lindsay-Poland, December 7, 2018


(1) Another six cities with 618,000 people participated in SWAT in some years; the remainder of the regional population are from smaller jurisdictions that did not participate.



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