Nov 7, 2013 8:08 AM by Kristen Holloway

S.W.A.T. Part 1: Officer Training to Wear the Elite Uniform

The special weapons and tactics concept better known as S.W.A.T. originated in the late 1960's as a result of several sniping incidents against civilians and police officers around the country. We hear about them all the time but what does a SWAT team really do?

A SWAT Team is at times what stands between a successful operation and one that fails.
The St. Landry Parish SWAT Team trains others around Acadiana and is also called upon to respond to crisis situations. We found out how an officer goes from being a patrolman to wearing the elite SWAT uniform.

"I would say we're more well trained than other police officers, swat is a specialized division, you take your best of your best and you train as you go," said Capt. Derrick Miles Swat Team Leader.

The swat team trains to deal with unusually dangerous or violent situations. They have special weapons like rifles more powerful than those carried by regular police officers.

"A lot of people confuse it cause they watch to many movies, even though have a lot of weapons and tools our job is to save a life, if we have to go in and save a bad guy, we will save a bad guy too," said SWAT Commander Leon Boudreaux.

The St. Landry Parish Sheriff's Office SWAT team is one of the elite. Members are hand selected.

"Most of the patrolman we see how well they do on a patrol first and you might get here and year later and we'll just approach you and ask you about SWAT," said Boudreaux. "We're looking for physically fitness, personal drive and attention to detail."

"You want the most physically fit cause sometimes it might last two minutes and sometimes it might last 3-4 days," said Boudreaux. "If you have to make a shot, you want to make sure the person who is shooting to your left and your right and behind you are just as accurate."

A patrolman is invited to train with SWAT after scoring 90% or above in several courses but has to jump another hurdle before they can officially wear the uniform.

"You have to do a physical fitness assessment that is ten times worst than the regular law enforcement physical fitness test and test your shooting abilities on all different weapons," said Boudreaux.

St. Landry Parish SWAT Team start it's day in the gym. Strength and speed are two main focuses of their workout.

"We carry a lot of equipment so we have to stay in shape and be able to continue carrying that equipment, we don't know how many hours we'll be out," said Miles.

Commander Leon Boudreaux coordinates all of the training from physical courses to classroom work.

A SWAT Team can be called to any situation but typically they can be found on the scenes of a hostage situation, some shootings, a terrorist attack, a riot or search and rescue.

"It's not the movies, it's not entertainment, it's reality," said Miles. "We train a lot, we do a lot of training behind scenes, no one knows where we're training but we do train for the worst."

Tomorrow we go along on a mission with the SWAT Team and experience what can really happen during a real life scenario.



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