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SWAT teams put to the test in annual training and competition

Posted at 6:49 PM, Aug 23, 2018
and last updated 2018-08-23 20:49:27-04

THISTLE, UT - SWAT teams from across the country came to Utah Thursday to put their skills to the test in the 4th Annual Mountain States SWAT Training and Competition.

Eight different challenges are given to officers to complete as a team.

“The purpose behind these events is to test the skills of SWAT teams throughout the Country,” said Lane Critser a retired sergeant from Utah County Sheriff’s Office. “Determine if they’d be able to check in with a baseline and perform at a standard that is acceptable within the industry.”

Officers aren’t told what challenges they will face beforehand.

Lt. Kent Huntsman with the Provo Police Department trained officers on marksman shooting.

“My goal on my course is that my guys will remember their fundamentals under stress and then have fun while doing it,” Lt. Huntsman said.

Becoming a SWAT team member requires extra physical and mental training, as it is sometimes a position officers do part time in addition to their full time police duties.

“It takes a different type of individual that wants to do this,” Lt. Huntsman said. “Those who do it and they commit 100 percent, the reward is exceptional. Being able to work toward saving lives is exceptional.”

Officers overcame the obstacle courses not just for their SWAT teams, but to support a local charity. The proceeds will be donated to the Utah 1033 Foundation, a non-profit dedicated to supporting families of fallen officers.

“Within a day, we’re at the family’s house with a check for $25,000,” said Dave Kaufman with The Utah 1033 Foundation. “We can’t touch their grief, but we can hopefully alleviate the fear of (not) being able to make ends meet in time until insurance and other benefits kick in.”

The event continues through Friday, teams will rescue a hostage, handle vehicle assault and a test their dog's skills in a K9 competition.