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Special Weapons And Tactics: SWAT

You know these guys. The urban commandos with the no-nonsense gear. They go in first, and they go in hard.

SWAT teams resolve hostage situations; extract armed, barricaded suspects; deploy during terrorist attacks; restore order in riots; and generally run headlong into all kinds of unhealthy situations. 

Okay, not "headlong." They train. A lot. To become a Fremont PD SWAT officer, candidates must have years of patrol experience, pass a rigorous physical endurance test, be excellent marksmen (markspeople), and pass a written test as well as an oral board. Then they have to get past SWAT Commander Lt. Washington. He ensures officers play well with others: there can be no dissention in the ranks when the ranks gotta have your back.

The Fremont SWAT team has tactical officers, The BearCat tactical armored security vehiclehostage negotiators, their own tactical dispatchers, and tactical medics (without special training [& commitment!] EMTs et al don't go into dicey situations until they're secure). SWAT officers are hazmat trained and can juggle chainsaws, but don't do windows.

All Fremont PD SWAT officers have dual assignments--they may handle a K9, work patrol, suppress street crimes, or ride a motorcycle with the traffic division. Then, when duty calls--some 18 to 22 times per year--they don their special uniform (better for crawling & climbing, sweating & wicking, and fading into various & sundry landscapes). This is a typical arrangement for many cities that don't need fulltime SWAT. Which is, of course, better than the alternative.

Shree smiles benevolently at his CPA* classmates from the Turret of Great Power.After educating us, Lt. Washingtion let us play with his armored vehicle! He asked us not to photograph the inside, so I can't share any double-top-secret deets with you. I will tell you that the interior is equipped with Bat Signal, a direct line to Bond--James Bond--and a helipad.

This puppy can withstand onslaughts from all kinds of caliber weapons, take down buildings, and go up to 90 mph (though it is strongly advised you leave ample real estate to stop all that heft).  FPD also rents out the BearCat for prom.

Have you ever seen a BearCat in action? I have. One came lumbering down my quiet, tree-lined street. It was chilling--especially since the situation involved someone I care about. But that's a story for another time. What's your story?

Watch a video of BearCats and LEOs (law enforcement officers) at work in Boston after the bombing. See if it don't make you proud to be American.

Next up: The doggies! I'll post about our time with the K9 unit.


* CPA: Citizens Police Academy


Citizens Police Academy

While this photo is intended to be an anonymous, "any officer" shot, within moments of it's department-wide use, my friend was identified by his peers and started getting flack about it. They're all just jealous.It's free. It's fascinating. It's fun.

It's as close to playing cops n' robbers that this armchair & laptop detective is likely to ever get.

I'm talking about a Citizens Police Academy. Lots of departments offer them. Unfortunately my city, San Jose, doesn't currently because of budget cuts.

But an almost-neighboring city, Fremont, does, and with a buddy on the SWAT team there, I got in. (The crowd goes wild!) I'm honored to be able to participate. That sounds like a cheesy obligatory line in a speech, but realio, trulio I am. The department puts a lot of resources into this program, all to welcome citizens behind the curtain.

We meet 13 times over 8 weeks, including a morning at the shooting range and an optional 4-hour ride-along with a patrol officer.

Basically I'm over the moon. I'm a procedural junkie and a suspense author. So this hits my personal and professional interests, big time.

I'll be posting about each of the presentations. There's stuff I have to keep on the down-low (they know where I live, and can shoot bean-bags at some 250 feet per second).

Questions? Post 'em if ya got 'em.


Ain't much here

Nope. There isn't. I keep meaning to get in a groove.


Enjoy the moment

Right now I'm a good mom. Right this minute, I mean.

I can think of many areas in my life where I'm not measuring up at this moment, but I'm a good mom.

I brought fruit (even had to cut up some) to my daughter's end-of Girls On The Run party, and I bought my son a Hawaiian shirt for tonight's youth group outing.

So, until I have to feed them another square meal, or have a uniform clean, I'm a good mom.


Hey, I did the hard part...

Today's the ninth anniversary of the birth of my last child. 

Happy Birthday sweetheart!