04/29/2007

Police commando teams compete in world games


Canadian Constable Anthony Cook, with the Toronto Police, competes during the Original SWAT World Challenge, Thursday, at Camp Robinson in North Little Rock, Ark. (AP Photo/Mike Wintroath)
NORTH LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — The crack of a sniper shot set the flak-jacketed team in motion, pausing long enough to fire at metal silhouettes before grabbing a 170-pound (77-kilogram) "victim" and crossing the finish line.

For 28 elite police commando units from around the world, the Original Special Weapons And Tactics World Challenge gives them a chance to use their skills outside a life-and-death crisis.

"The thing about these guys, it's just good to be around them," said Paul Davis, president of the event's sponsor.

The four-day event includes target shooting as well as tabletop planning exercises and close-range shooting. In a nearby tent are displays of sniper rifles, pistols, grenade canisters and body armor.

Germany's GSG-9, its federal anti-terrorism unit, crossed the finish line in 8 minutes, 40 seconds. Other teams took as long as a half hour despite running most of the way.

Besides Germany, three teams from Canada and a team from Aruba filled out the international part of the competition.

One U.S. team, from the state of North Carolina, arrived with fewer weapons than expected after three automatic assault weapons, three shotguns and two semiautomatic handguns were stolen from their van as they ate at a barbecue restaurant on the way.

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