Hosted by the West Hartford Police Department, the eighth annual Connecticut SWAT Challenge (CSC) recently gave 27 SWAT teams the opportunity to compete in team and individual events designed to test SWAT skills-competency, physical conditioning, equipment, command and control, and communications. Events include Top Cop, Glock Open Pistol and a five-stage team competition consisting of Colt MultiGun, Mossberg Rescue, Mile High Sniper, Combined Arms and the trademark Smith & Wesson Mystery event.
The shooting stages were designed to engage the officers and teams in scenarios based on what SWAT members have and will encounter during call-outs and operations. These stages ensure each competitor is faced with small targets, limited ammunition and short timeframes for contending with obstacles, smoke, irritant gas, freezing water and simple exhaustion, all while wearing full call-out equipment.
Although physical exertion is common to all events, none can equal that of the final day’s CSC PT Challenge, which involves 37 stations over almost 6 miles of hilly terrain. The clock is ticking as teams run, crawl, lift, squat, pull, swim, think, communicate and perform precise tasks. Just finishing the event is incredible, let alone coming in first!
Host and great guy Tracey Gove, who is West Harford’s police chief, welcomed the participants. He and the CSC director, SWAT Commander Lieutenant Jeremy Clark, emphasized learning and camaraderie over competition and winning. That was the biggest difference between the CSC and other special operations competitions and was seen throughout the three days. Rarely witnessed at other challenges, instead of leaving early most of the exhausted teams went back and cheered on their competition as they struggled to cross the finish line. Over and over I saw teams support one another and spend their time learning instead of gaming. Even during the event stages, the teams were coached and mentored by experienced SWAT operators who made sure that tactical errors were corrected on the spot, to reinforce good behavior and prevent negative training. The CSC is truly a learning event that keeps score.
The event also had an exposition of companies and sponsors like Lenco, Colt, Glock, UTM, SureFire, Trijicon, Smoth & Wesson, Mossberg, 5.11, Stag Arms, Diamondhead, Troy Industries and many, many more, who could show how their products and services would improve or better sustain the mission effectiveness of special operators and their leadership. Many vendors noted how their participation in the CSC had a positive effect on their sales, and they plan, like most of the teams, to be back next year. For more information, please visit ctswatchallenge.com.
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