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3 underlying benefits SWAT cops get from SWAT training

SWAT officers realize that their experience on a SWAT team makes them a better overall police officer

Probably the single greatest benefit of being a SWAT cop is the added training you receive. Police officers who are fortunate enough to be selected to a Special Operations Team receive hundreds of hours of additional training each year.

Because of all the additional training, SWAT cops receive personal benefits that are not accessible to many of their peers.

Some of these benefits include increased physical fitness, more (and sometimes better) firearms training, and knowledge of advanced tactics. Let’s examine each in turn.

1. Increased Physical Fitness
Most SWAT teams require that their officers maintain a higher level of physical conditioning than the average officer. Either teams will have conditioning built into their training time, or they will test their officers on an annual/ or bi-annual basis.

The benefits of physical conditioning not only aid the officers to accomplish their missions while performing SWAT functions, but also carry over to other law enforcement activities such as engaging in a foot pursuit, controlling a resistive subject, or possibly even de-escalating a confrontation because of their stature and bearing. Of course being physically fit also brings a host of other advantages both in health and mental wellness.

2. More (and Sometimes Better) Firearms Training
SWAT cops are expected to be better-than-average shooters. Regardless of the level of proficiency they had as a marksman when they joined the team, it is sure to improve with the amount of trigger time that they are exposed to during the course of their training. Whether it is a handgun, a long gun, or some sort of specialized weapon, SWAT cops are going to spend a fair share of their time attempting to master those weapons systems.

These officers are exposed to not only the traditional shooting methods that their contemporaries receive, but also unconventional shooting methods as well. These unconventional methods may include alternate shooting positions, inverted shooting, elevated or angled shooting, or shooting on the move. The purpose is to prepare the officers for a multitude of scenarios they could encounter during a tactical operation. All of these newfound skills can also be utilized if the officer finds himself in a situation while on other assignments on duty, or even off duty.

3. Knowledge of Advanced Tactics
The “T” in SWAT stands for tactics and is the bread and butter of every team, which extends to every individual officer on that team. Tactics will determine the success or failure of a team during any operation, therefore it is imperative that every officer on the team be knowledgeable and proficient in tactical skills.

These tactics, whether they are team or individual, are assets an officer can use to aid in their survival. These tactics can be as simple as “cutting the pie,” or utilizing “quick peaks,” or more advanced, such as entries, clearings, vehicle assaults, or hostage-rescue techniques. Whatever the case, the officer is gaining knowledge and skills that will carry over to every aspect of their law enforcement career.

There are numerous other benefits that officers gain from their SWAT training — teamwork, discipline, judgement, determination, and others. What these officers realize is that their experience on a SWAT team has made them a better overall police officer. It has given them competence and confidence in their abilities to handle any situation whether that be during a SWAT operation or in any other assignment they may find themselves. These officers realize that their SWAT training has afforded them the opportunity to become safer, stronger and more proficient than what they might have been had they not taken the opportunity to become special.

Dan Danaher is a retired sergeant with 28 years of law enforcement experience. He has been retained by his former agency as the range master to oversee the firearms and TASER programs. Dan is also the co-founder of Tactical Encounters Inc., a law enforcement training company based out of Michigan.
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