About the Author
A Day at Camp Ripley
Scott Neal, September 25, 2012 | Scott Neal
The SWAT team is comprised of employees from both the Police Department and Fire Department because a live SWAT team situation usually involves force, and sometimes involves a medical response. Our Fire Fighters are all cross-trained as paramedics, so they fit perfectly into the SWAT team roster.
The training experiences are held over several days. They consist of simulating various situations the team might find themselves involved in. The purpose of the training, of course, is to be prepared. Preparation includes practicing movements and reactions until they become second nature. Training occurs throughout the day and sometimes at night. Yesterday, it was windy, hot and dusty. I know it’s not Iraq or Afghanistan, but these guys were in full protective clothing carrying heavy packs, including weapons and ammunition. In other words, it’s not easy. It’s work.
The very small part of their day that was not work was the time they spent watching me take a crack at handling the P90 weapon. The P90 is a personal defensive weapon manufactured by FN Herstal in Belgium. It’s used through the world in both military and police settings. It is capable of single shot, bursts and automatic fire with very little recoil. Yes, they let me shoot the weapon. I put down Ivan (the target) a couple of times, but after 300 rounds, a couple of times just isn’t good enough to make the team. Lucky for me. Lucky for the general public - for sure.
The folks that serve on our SWAT team are dedicated officers and fire fighters. They spend this time away from their families in these training exercises so that they can provide the best possible service to the public they are sworn to protect. We are all better off for their efforts.