Milwaukee Police Tactical Enforcement Unit

Beginning of the “Tac Squad”

On August 7, 1967, Police Chief Harold A. Breier authorized the creation of the Tactical Enforcement Unit with department order # 6074. The unit would be known as the “Tac Squad.”   The original “Tac Squad” consisted of seven (7) Police Sergeants, forty-five (45) Patrolmen, and ten (10) police vehicles. The Tactical Enforcement Unit was under the command of the First District Commander. The order indicated these units would be designated for radio communication purposes in the “700” series.  The 700 squad numbers were exclusively for the Tac Squad.  

All the necessary equipment and weapons required by this special unit were provided by the Bureau of Police Training and Special Services. All records and inventories of such equipment and the maintenance thereof were the responsibility of the Department Gunsmith and Range Officer assigned to the training bureau or a Police Sergeant assigned to handle the duties, if directed by the Director of the Bureau of Police Training.

The primary duties of the Tac Squad Patrolman were to provide additional police service in the event of major incidents or disasters. Eventually the Tac Squad Patrolmen were assigned to patrol certain districts and respond to any and all situations where a gun or weapon were involved. They patrolled with three or four officers in an unmarked squad car equipped with two rifles, two shotguns, and teargas grenades for high-risk incidents. 

Tac Squad officers wore a dark blue nylon jacket, since nylon does not absorb the residue of the tear gas. Besides repelling tear gas, the nylon jacket was long enough to cover the officer's duty belt, which helped protect the officer’s equipment if involved in a struggle.

Equipment used by Tac Squad

Tactical Enforcement Equipment being displayed for the public


Research of other police agencies throughout the United States has shown that the Milwaukee Police Department Tactical Unit was the first full-time centralized Tactical (S.W.A.T.) Unit in the country.

The department authorized these unit patches over the years:

First Patch of the Unit


Second Patch of the Unit


Current - Third Patch of the Unit


(Credit- Milwaukee Police Historical Society Charter Member William Gielow for background & photos)

Unit Emblems

1986- Tactical Enforcement Section Vehicles and Equipment

Entry into residence by Tactical Enforcement Unit

Entry into residence by Tactical Enforcement Unit

Presentation of Tactical Equipment to citizens at Police Academy

Presentation of Tactical Equipment to citizens at Police Academy

Bearcat Police Rescue Vehicle Used by Tactical Enforcement Unit

Training on County BusTraining session on Milwaukee County Transit Bus

Training on Academy Street SceneTraining session on Street Scene at Police Academy

Tactical Deployment Tactical Deployment

The Years
Please enable JavaScript for Full Website Functionality