First let me start off with the good news that my volunteer application was accepted! I got finger printed and my photo taken for my official credentials last night. I also got sized for my official clothing. It's a good thing I look good in red! I just missed out on taking part in a prisoner search training exercise that will be taking place this Sunday. Rats! But I'm now on the list and will await my first volunteer assignment. I'm totally excited!
So, last night's topics were the SWAT team and Commercial Vehicle Enforcement.
Officer Schneider from the SWAT team started us off, dressed in his uniform and with all of his equipment that he carries with him at all times displayed on the table at the front of the room. His personal catchphrase is "icky, bad". As in "We're called in when it's an icky, bad situation". I swear he must've said that phrase about ten times during class. :-)
Our SWAT team was formed in 1979 and then merged with the county SWAT team about 10 years ago. They currently have 22 members but are in the process of hiring 8 more. (There has never been a woman on the team, which I was disappointed to hear).
If you don't already know, SWAT stands for Special Weapons and Tactics. They are broken down into teams - Shield Team, Perimeter Team, Entry Team, React Team and Forward Observer Team (these are the snipers). They are also assisted by three other special ops teams - Negotiating Team, Intelligence Team and Communications Team.
SWAT's main missions are: barricaded suspects, hostage rescue, high risk arrest warrants, drug raids, crowd control and VIP security.
Their code is: Speed, Surprise and the Violence of Action.
Besides standard building/house training they also train on buses, planes and trains. These are called "tubular assaults". For building/house assaults they have Dynamic Entry (which is when they literally break down the doors, go in through windows, and are yelling loudly) and Stealth Entry (which is exactly what you think it is - sneaking in quietly to take the suspects unawares).
We saw several training videos where they fire live rounds called "simunitions". These are bullets that have a hard rubber tip that bursts open upon contact and sprays colored detergent. Many years ago in a different CPA class I took, we got to use these. Let me tell you, these are no paintballs. These suckers hurt if you get hit, which is the point, really. I actually still have a spent round from that class I kept as a souvenir. :-)
Officer Schneider then took us through a few missions he'd been on, showed us photographs from them and then went over all of his equipment, which he passed around to all of us. I got to handle a wicked AR-15 rifle with the coolest laser scope I'd ever seen, a massive less-than-lethal rifle that fires these huge rubber bullets (or gas canisters), a .45 pistol and the breast plate from his vest. Holy crap was that heavy. He said that when he's got everything on it's an additional forty pounds!
At the end of his presentation I was again bitten by the same plot bunny I had a few months ago, about the SWAT sniper and the police psychologist. Hmmm…
Then Officer Cleuver took us through Commercial Vehicle Enforcement. Yes, it's an exciting a topic as you think it would be! LOL! But it's actually really important for our town. We have a massive industrial base and we've got trucks of all shapes and sizes rolling through 24 hours a day. So making sure these vehicles are not overweight and obey all safety regulations is really important. We've had several fatal traffic accidents because of trucks which is now down to just one in the last five years. Mainly because of Officer Cleuver. This is his mission and he's amazing at it. The stories he told us and photos he showed us of trucks were unbelievable. Some were overweight by 46,000 pounds! It was an $18,000 fine! And I have to give kudos - he took a very boring topic and made it fun. He's so high energy and was making jokes and talking a million miles a minute. I really liked him. And we'll have him back in a few weeks talking about traffic stops.
Next week the entire class is on Use of Force. Taught by two female officers, who run the entire program for the police department. Female power! I'm excited to meet them.