SWAT team opens for testing - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

SWAT team opens for testing

April 7, 2004

Albany -- You see them in hostage situations or other critical police standoffs. SWAT teams are highly trained police officers, the best of the best.

With two openings on Albany's Special Response Team, eight officers give it all they've got in tryouts to become one of the elite. It is a tough physical challenge.

Crawling under an obstacle. Scaling a seven foot high chain link fence. Target shooting for score. A two story rope climb. This is what it takes to make the Special Response Team. Team member Rob McAllister said "We are considered the elite. We feel like we have standards to maintain. "

The over one mile obstacle course run has to be done in nine minutes or you fail. Team Medic Phillip Jackson said "You have to be able to depend on your team members, and work cohesively together. And know that the person behind you or in front of you is just as motivated and physically fit as you are."

Albany's Special Response Team is made up of 18 officers and two paramedics, who are trained to handle the most dangerous and difficult challenges. Team Commander Major Bill Berry said "When the Police need help, who do they call? They call SWAT or in our case we call it Special Response team. Because we have the equipment and training to handle things beyond their capability."

Albany Special Response Team members even have a special SWAT tattoo that many of them wear on their right arms. Major Berry said "It's the pride. It's a step above. It shows the officer is willing take more and do more than just the regular line officer."

The members of the Special Response Team made up this conditioning challenge, and they must pass it twice a year to stay on the team. It's all about making sure if a life threatening situation arises, the officers who are called are the best, and ready to meet the challenge.

The officers who pass the conditioning test, then face questioning from a five member board. That board will recommend to the Chiefs or Sheriff who they think should undergo the training to join the Special Response Team.

posted at 4:09 PM by jimw@walb.com