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November 05, 2013
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Take it from the vets: 10 pieces of advice for SWAT rookies

If you're thinking about applying for your local SWAT unit because you just finished watching the movie 'S.W.A.T.' and idolized the cool gear, hair gel, and 'bad boy/girl' persona, then it might be time for a reality check to see what you're really getting yourself into. We asked former and current SWAT vets to weigh in on Facebook and gives us their best advice for rookie or aspiring SWAT officers. Check out the best words of advice, and as always, add your own comments below. 

 

http://ems.pgpic.com/1.gif [I’m a] current veteran LEO and senior SWAT member. My advice: train like your life depends on it, ‘cause it does. Only move as fast as you can accurately shoot and kick some in the chest. NEVER, EVER go in alone-unless you are the last one left. Remember, we don't do it because it's cool, we it do for the brother in the stack behind us. - Ryan Hildebrandt

http://ems.pgpic.com/2.gifLeave the attitude at the door and understand the term TEAM. - Juan Espinoza

http://ems.pgpic.com/3.gifDo not separate yourself from the other officers on the department. You are not any different than other officers. - Michael W. Hughes

http://ems.pgpic.com/4.gif As a former SWAT team member, squad leader and eventually Unit Commander, I would say, it's being able to "get your head into the game.” That is a mindset that encompasses everything you do. Train hard, physically and mentally. When you train, train like the success of the mission (or training evolution) depends on how you perform. When you're on a mission, perform like you train. The only difference between a patrol deputy and a SWAT team member is the amount and level of training provided, and the mind set or attitude. Swat operations is a team effort, including the command, crisis negotiators and the SWAT team. Everyone has their part in resolving the incident successfully. When I evaluate prospective SWAT team members, I look at maturity, decision making ability and mind set; training people for the technical skills is easy. Training someone for the correct attitude and mind set is not. - Robin Alohawk

http://ems.pgpic.com/5.gif Listen, learn and prove yourself. Step up without being asked. Be receptive to criticism. - David Holzinger

http://ems.pgpic.com/6.gifWork out, pay attention to your seniors, keep your mouth shut. You are not invincible, even though you think you are. Shoot, practice, practice more. Realize fear is OK; just go through it. Treat everyone like you want to be treated. Have your shit wired tight! - Dave Alverson

http://ems.pgpic.com/7.gif Let the circumstances dictate the tactics. Intelligence is a great weapon to solve a situation. Have heart for this position. Be physically capable to adapt to any situation/ terrain. Work as a team; no such thing as an individual on a team. Improvise, adapt, overcome. Be versatile with different weapons. Be a marksman. Train in weighted vests. Most of all: have a positive attitude and just do it. - Jeff Gold

http://ems.pgpic.com/8.gifIt's not who is first in the door that shows commitment. It's ensuring your team comes out in the same condition they went in. - Allan King

http://ems.pgpic.com/9.gifBest thing to do is speak with the SWAT guys on the team. Find out what is expected of you. Show them you are interested and show some dedication. Make sure you are known as a team player doing whatever it is you do now. - Tim Sullivan

http://ems.pgpic.com/10.gifRespect your team members and above all, respect your team leader. He got that position for a reason. He WORKED for it. - Rich Himmelberger


About the author

"The Question" section brings together user-generated articles from our Facebook page based on questions we pose to our followers, as well as some of the best content we find on Quora, a question-and-answer website created, edited and organized by its community of users who are often experts in their field. The site aggregates questions and answers for a range of topics, including public safety. The questions and answers featured here on P1 are posted directly from Quora, and the views and opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of P1.





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