UTAH COUNTY — A five-day, 80+ hour training course known as "Hell Week" has begun to wind down in Utah County.
During this week, members of Utah County SWAT have been instructing local first responders who want to learn some of their techniques.
The course covers all facets of what SWAT has to encounter on the job, such as: entering, clearing and searching buildings; working on high-risk search warrants; barricade and hostage situations; vehicle takedowns, and more.
“Mental is the biggest part. If you can keep yourself mentally in the game, you can get yourself through most situations, and that’s what we want to teach our guys [and] our students,” said Utah County Sheriff’s Office Deputy Ray Ormond, an instructor who has been a SWAT team member for six years. “SWAT is a life-saving organization. We’re not a life-taking organization if we can help it... Our goal is to show up on scene and have that come to a peaceful resolution using that limited amount of force that we need to, to have that resolution.”
Deputy Ormond admits that this past year has been tense for law enforcement, perhaps the most contentious in his 16-year career as an officer.
“Over the last year, we’ve had our normal things from barricaded suspects, we’ve had arrest warrants that we’ve done, we’ve had search warrants that we’ve done, we’ve also been on standby for protests that in our area that have thankfully been peaceful,” he said. “We do still need to make sure we’re ready for whatever comes our way.”
All first responders are tasked with their own mentally and physically taxing callouts. Fortunately for Deputy Ormond, he’s figured out a way to wind down from a stressful scene or tense situation.
“For me personally, I try to listen to some peaceful music. I do carry a picture of my family and any time I’m going home, I look at my wife and kids," he said. "It’s one more day that I get to go home because I’ve had friends who haven’t been able to."