On the job they may serve an arrest warrant for a killer or respond to an active shooter or an officer down.
Wednesday, 12 SWAT teams from around the state took on one another during the 2010 Oklahoma SWAT competition.
The Edmond Police Department’s tactical team won last year’s event at Broken Arrow, and hosted this year. This year’s overall winner, the Norman Police Department, will host the 2011 event. Awards were also handed out in individual and team events.
Edmond Police Officer Randy Payne said a growing number of cities have been represented in the SWAT competition, and one of the main goals is to promote camaraderie among the estimated 250-300 participants. During down time, they sit around and talk and may ask about training methods or the type of gun someone else may use, Payne said.
“SWAT cops in the state, we train constantly,” said Payne, who competed for Edmond last year. “So it’s a little change of pace. You get to come out and display your skills a little bit.”
Additionally, vendors such as Glock, a weapons manufacturer, and local vendors which distribute gear to police officers and firefighters come to the events, Payne said.
The SWAT teams competed at the Edmond Fire Department’s training site near Interstate 35 and Covell Road, and at the police training site in East Edmond.
At the fire site, the six-man teams pushed an Edmond Police car up an incline, ran to a location where one team member dragged a dummy, ran to a location where two team members dragged a dummy, and assaulted a grueling uphill obstacle course which included climbing a rope ladder and moving a tractor-type tire. Following the obstacle course, they stepped onto a Keiser Sled, a simulated forcible-entry chopping device developed specifically for the fire service.
Along the way, they spotted and mentally recorded numbers, a combination needed to open a locked box, which contained a blow horn that signaled the end of their run.
Edmond Police Officer Bryan Weathers briefed the squads before they entered the course, telling them that the conditions would be the same for each team. During their runs, Weathers kept time, and he and others encouraged the SWAT teams.
Next, the teams went through a hostage rescue scenario using the fire department’s five-story brick tower. Last, they went to the police firing range where they participated in two-gun and sniper competition.
Edmond police spokeswoman Glynda Chu said hosting the SWAT competition is always a rewarding experience, an opportunity for the city’s SWAT team members to meet other officers and build lasting relationships statewide. It is also a time to exchange ideas and share information on new technology and tactics, Chu said.
“The competition is time for the teams to come together once a year and put their skills to the test, Chu said. “As in every competition there is a winner, but just by being in the contest, all the teams come away with a feel of what others are doing, and an opportunity for all the participants to grow from the competition.”
Additionally, the competition gives teams an opportunity to gauge results of training and skill levels, Chu said. At the end of the day, she said, the mission is all the same — keeping communities safe.
In addition to the FBI, the Tulsa County Sheriff’s Office, Ft. Sill and the Chickasaw Nation, police departments from Ada, Broken Arrow, Tulsa, Enid, Moore, Norman, Duncan and Owasso competed in the SWAT competition.
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