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SWAT Teams – as we now know them – began HERE, in LA. Though there was a similar acronym coined out in Philadelphia where there was a mint, and lots of banks… getting robbed. So many, in fact, that Special Weapons and Tactics teams were created just to put a stop to them. That was in 1964.
In 1965, on this coast, we had the Watts Riots. It was a much different situation than the one in Philadelphia, ours was a community uprising. And Daryl Gates, a different kind of guy, then the LAPD Inspector, focused in, as a solution to this type of event, not on defense nor negotiation, but on offense. Coincidently, his 180 degree approach took on a name with the same letters; SWAT said it all then, and to this day: Special Weapons Attack Team.
Apparently, he saw civil unrest, swarming crowds coming at police from all sides – we’ll put aside for the moment any thoughts of why communities under his watch might be ready to revolt (although the Black Panthers and others made it pretty clear) – out-gunning holed-up lone gunmen, and the necessity of getting in doors where folks were discussing how thy might exercise their constitutional Rights. This was, after all, the mid 60’s – enlightenment was… rampant.
In the 1967-68 Congressional session, concerns about the Panthers, Civil Rights groups, the resistance to the War on Drugs , and a push from a Republican House Representative gave SWAT teams the go-ahead. And off they went…http://theweek.com/articles/531458/troubling-rise-swat-teams
Way before RW Klarin became an LA FP Reporter, he was a regular on the LA Concert Circuit – watching the artists on stage who would, 50 or so years laters, be celebrated as Icons of the Era. He, himself, remembers this particular concert in his ‘remembrance’ of Ravi Shankar. It was a memory brought about by his present-day visit to a concert by Ravi at the Dorothy Chandler Pavillion. Curiously, Ravi might have his own memory from way back when…