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Fla. SWAT Team Finishes First At International Competition

Fla. SWAT Team Finishes First At International Competition

(Stock Photo)

The Ledger via YellowBrix

December 16, 2009

LAKELAND, Fla. — It had been four days of grueling obstacle courses and challenges for the Lakeland Police Department’s competition SWAT team.

And they were behind going into the final and most difficult day of the International SWAT Roundup, held in Orlando from Nov. 29 through Dec. 4. It was rainy, wet and cold. But they were well trained for these conditions.

That training paid off in the final day on the O-Course, with the Lakeland officers pulling ahead of the Alachua County Sheriff’s Office to take first place by one point in the 52-team international competition.

The final day was the first time in the competition’s 27 years that it had rained on the day of the obstacle course challenge, said Sgt. Brent Addison.

“It made it slipperier and harder to negotiate,” he said. “And it was a cold, wet day out there. We don’t get to choose when we get called out, so we train in adverse conditions a lot of times.”

The five-day competition was split into categories – including hostage rescue, tower scramble and the final obstacle course.

The teams competed against each other in the separate events, which also served as real-world training.

In recent years, the Lakeland department’s team has done exceptionally well, placing first four times since 2001. It’s a feat that Addison is modest about.

“Typically we do pretty well,” he said.

But to do well takes hours and hours of practice.

“For the ones that compete at the roundup, they truly have to be dedicated,” he said.

The eight-person team begins seriously practicing for the competition about three months in advance of the competition, he said. Those practices are held in addition to their normal SWAT training and police jobs.

Lakeland’s first place team included Brent Addison, Rick Taylor, Ron Bowling Jr., David Woolverton, Mark Eby, Robert Bernhardt, Bryan McNabb and Jasper Yzaguirre.

The competition was held at the Orange County Sheriff’s Office’s training center and involved teams from around the world, including Germany, Sweden, Hungary, Canada and Dubai.

“It’s a good opportunity for the teams to network and learn how they do their training,” Addison said.

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