This is similar to the 45-pound SWAT vest
This citizens’ police academy I’m attending is getting more interesting every time I go. Last Thursday we had two speakers, hostage negotiations and then the lieutenant that heads up the SWAT team. Both of these guys were excellent speakers and often work together on cases.
They brought all the SWAT gear in and asked for volunteers to put on that big pack. He looked over at me and asked me if I wanted to volunteer. Good heavens! I couldn’t even pick the pack up, much less put it on. But he thinks I’m fearless, I guess, and up for anything because I told him to put me on the most action-packed ride-along he had. (This is the lieutenant that sets up the ride-along for civilians.) He finally grabbed one of the older guys in our group and he was the guinea pig for this demonstration.
This man wasn’t a big man either and had trouble getting the pack on and he sure couldn’t get it off. He had to sit down so the lieutenant could pull it up over his head. Of course they had a couple of shields in there too (like you see on the police shows) and also a battering ram. We were allowed to pick up and inspect all these items. How they don’t hurt their backs hauling this stuff around is amazing.
You wouldn’t believe the obstacle and training course these guys have to pass every six months to stay on the SWAT team. It has to be the best men they have for situations like that so you can only imagine the rigors they go through. We’ll get to see a demonstration of this later on in the academy when they take us to the shooting range. Not only do they have to wear this heavy pack weighing about 45 pounds, but they also have to carry other gear and their rifle, or pistol, depending on where they are in the course. They must carry a 180-pound dummy and leave it at a given spot and then hurdle over six-foot walls while shooting and wearing all this equipment. All this has to be done in nine minutes and they can only miss 4 shots out of about 80 rounds.
To say you’d have to be in top physical shape is an understatement. I honestly don’t know how people do this job for a living. It sounds damn hard to me, not to mention dangerous. I know I’d never be strong enough to do this, let alone withstand the initial boot camp to start with.
All the guys we’ve met so far are very nice people and they love their jobs. This academy certainly gives you a different perspective of the police department when you can see things from their point of view and the things the job requires them to do. They literally have to make split second decisions involving people’s lives.
Until next time, stay safe out there.