The Test Of SWAT
Posted: October 13, 2012
The Spotsylvania County Emergency Response Team fires on the run during the Southeastern SWAT competition in Harrisonburg on Friday. (Photos by Stephen Mitchell)
Ron McLaughlin of the Chesterfield County Police snakes through tires on the obstacle course.
Brian Dentel of the Chesterfield County Police descends a rope on the obstacle course at the Southeastern SWAT competition on Friday.
Josh Lynch of the Roanoke Police Department makes his way through the obstacle course at the Southeastern SWAT competition in Harrisonburg on Friday.
Matt Jeffries (left) and Brian Dentel of the Chesterfield Police drag Scott Meyerhoeffer at the competition.
Lin Manning of the Roanoke Police has the strain written on his face during the obstacle course.
Spence, a member of the Augusta County Sheriff’s Office, has participated in the event, held at the Harper-Presgraves Regional Training Center in Harrisonburg, for the last three years.
He said the key to tackling the course is to remain focused.
“I’m thinking about competing and helping my team,” Spence said.
In addition to Augusta County, nine other teams from Virginia participated in the event. The Harrisonburg and Rockingham County teams do not participate in the event because they are too familiar with the course.
Typically, several out-of-state teams attend the competition, but they weren’t able to participate this year because of tight funding, organizers said.
The competition consists of seven events, ranging from an obstacle course to a pistol shoot-off.
Augusta County Sgt. Gary Taylor, who leads the agency’s SWAT team, said watching his team compete allows him to identify the team’s strengths and weaknesses.
“It lets me know where the guys are at … in their physical fitness and their shooting,” Taylor said.
Capt. Tom Hoover of the Harrisonburg Police Department said local officers design the competition to put SWAT team members under stress.
“It duplicates what you might see on a mission,” Hoover said. “If we had to go in and deal with a bad person at a mall or school, they’d use the same skills.”
The winner of this year’s competition was Chesterfield County, followed by the Charlottesville and Alexandria police departments, which came in second and third, respectively.
Contact Pete DeLea at 574-6278 or firstname.lastname@example.org