The S.W.A.T. officers who deliver the secure phone at the beginning of the film in the bank robbery scene were real-life L.A.P.D. S.W.A.T. officers, who were on scene as technical advisors for the film, and got to put on their uniforms and do it "for fun".
The bank used at the beginning of the film was an abandoned building scheduled to be torn down, so the film crew was allowed to shoot at it, tear it apart, and do whatever they wanted. They also had to get over five hundred signatures from residents and businesses for permission to fly the helicopters at low altitudes during the S.W.A.T. team insertion.
EASTER EGG: Go to Deleted Scenes from Special Features. When "Hondo reviews files at home" is highlighted, press left twice, and up once. This will highlight Street's shield. You can see the footage from the real high speed chase that happened on the 6th Street bridge while filming.
Colin Farrell wanted to perform a stunt as his character, in the scene where the S.W.A.T. team rappels down from a helicopter. His request was refused, as a concern for his safety. Farrell's stunt double proceeded to break his ankle on the first take of the stunt.
The ending scene was filmed at a California State Prison in the desert, and during filming, the prison guards had a bad situation with the inmates, and had to go into lockdown, with half of the film crew inside the front gates, and half of them outside. Three hours later, when the lockdown ended, filming resumed.
When a location was being picked for the plane escape, one consideration was closing Interstate 405, or a stretch of another highway, on which to land a Learjet, but that was "out of their reach", so they shut down the 6th Street bridge, from six p.m. to five a.m., every night for filming, and used CGI effects for the plane's approach. The scene with the aircraft taking off, was actually done, with an aircraft equipped with a V-8 engine, so they could drive it down the bridge.
The 6th Street bridge had been closed for filming, and a high speed chase involving a stolen vehicle drove through as the cast was rehearsing the scene. At the time, the Learjet was parked on the bridge in such a way that there was just barely enough room for a mid-sized car to fit through, with a few inches of clearance on each side. At first, when the crew was told by Security that a chase was headed their way, they thought it was a joke until they noticed L.A.P.D. and news helicopters above them. The crew tried to include the footage they got later, from the choppers, into the movie, but it didn't work too well.
The opening sequence at the bank was loosely based on the 1997 North Hollywood shoot-out. Several radio calls (for example, "There's nothing we have that can stop them!") are also taken verbatim from the recording of the 1997 incident.
Most of the S.W.A.T. members, including Street, are shown to be P3s, or Police Officer III, rank. That is shown by the two stripe chevron worn on their uniforms. The Police Officer III rank is a designation given to Police Officers who have passed a test, and is considered to be a senior Police Officer rank. P3s are usually training officers, and can even stand in place for Sergeants, as needed.
In the scene where they were using facial recognition to identify Alex, ID photos of the film crew were used, as the high speed shuffling of faces on the monitor. On DVD, if you step through that sequence frame by frame, you can see almost every member of the film crew. All photos, in that sequence, were taken by Dave Nico, S.W.A.T.'s Assistant Coordinator (his photo does not appear).
EASTER EGG: On the DVD, go to the second page of the Special Features, select "6th Street bridge" press right twice and down twice. This will highlight Samuel L Jackson's cap. Press OK or equivalent, and you will be taken to the S.W.A.T. team and crew playing golf.
For the limo scene, after the team escapes the sewer, the film crew had called various actors, trying to get someone to sit in the limo for a cameo, but they chose to have actors as high school kids, when nobody wanted to come on scene, in the middle of the night, to do a cameo.
Jim Street (Colin Farrell) has a movie poster of Bullitt (1968) in his apartment. It's visible briefly behind him as his girlfriend is moving out. In real life, Steve McQueen is one of Farrell's idols.
The opening scene with the bank robbery was based on a real-life event. It took place at the Bank of America, at the corner of Archwood Street and Laurel Canyon Boulevard. The robbery took place on February 28, 1997.
With his salary from this film, Jeremy Renner subsequently bought a dilapidated house with a friend that they restored and lived in for a while. Renner said that they made a fairly significant profit when they sold the house much later.
Deacon "Deke" Kaye (LL Cool J) relays what he would do if he had huge amounts of money that Alex Montel (Olivier Martinez) offers. He states that he would hire Halle Berry as his yoga instructor. He says this within earshot of Martinez, who married Halle in 2013.
The Ambassador Hotel, a Hollywood landmark built in the 1920s (and the location of Robert F. Kennedy's assassination), plays itself in the film. Closed in the late 1980s, it has since been only used for location filming and police training. Police have been allowed to train there, free of charge. Before this movie, That Thing You Do! (1996) was the first movie to use it as a film location. Currently, the building is owned by the Los Angeles Unified School District, who has plans to tear it down, and build a school.
Officer Sanchez (Michelle Rodriguez) is stated to be in Metro Division for many years, but never making S.W.A.T. Metro, or Metropolitan Division, is an elite division of the L.A.P.D., containing many specialized units such as the Special Investigation Section (S.I.S.). Metro is not a geographical division like the other stations, but a division for special units that serve all of Los Angeles. S.W.A.T. is part of the Metro Division. So Sanchez is already in a special division, just not part of S.W.A.T. Contrast that with Deke (LL Cool J), who is a regular patrol officer in the Southwest Division, covering only that section of Los Angeles.
The song "Samuel Jackson" by Hot Action Cop, which featured during the film, and over the closing credits, incorporated a vocal rendition of the original S.W.A.T. theme (the same part that is sung by the S.W.A.T. team members in the diner).
If Paul Walker had stayed in this movie this would of been the 6th time he worked with co-star Michelle Rodriguez the other movies they both appeared in were The Fast And The Furious, Fast And Furious, Fast Five Fast And Furious 6 and Furious 7. both movies 2 Fast And 2 Furious and this one came out the same year 2003.
Dr. Pepper cans are seen in at least three scenes. The first is when Street (Colin Farrell) is cleaning the guns, the second is when Boxer (Brian Van Holt) opens the can before his pager goes off. The third is when the Deputy Sheriff (Ben Siegler) discovers who Alex (Olivier Martinez) really is.
Second time LL Cool J and Samuel L. Jackson worked together on a movie the first was 4 years earlier in Deep Blue Sea but in that one, one was a chef the other a Lab Researcher. In this one their both police officers.
Four of the actors went on to become connected to the Marvel Universe. Samuel L Jackson played Nick Fury and Jeremy Renner played Hawkeye in the Avengers movies, Colin Farrell played Bullseye in Daredevil and Reg E Cathey played Rev James Lucas (Luke's father) in Luke Cage.
The trivia items below may give away important plot points.
Colin Farrell and Jeremy Renner appear as former partners turned enemies. Farrell appeared as Bullseye in Daredevil (2003) who, in the comics, becomes the Dark Avenger of Hawkeye. Renner portrayed Hawkeye in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.