SWAT Officers Train For Danger Year Round, Stakes High
Dangerous and violent situations are something Deputy Tim Longshore has experienced firsthand. He has served as a tactical officer of the Franklin County SWAT team for 10 years.
"You don't ever want to have it in the back of your mind 'Am I going to be able to perform?'" said Longshore. "It's knowing 'Yes, I can perform. My guys are going to be safe. People are going to be safe.'"
Longshore credits his level of comfort to training on the job. Tactical officers train at least 16 hours a month and are always on call.
"They could be working patrol, jail, court services, the detective bureau," said Franklin County Sheriff Zach Scott. “When the call comes out, they have to drop what they're doing. They have to start moving that way immediately."
Preparation includes shooting through surfaces such as glass, steel and drywall.
"We have to shoot in close quarters. We have to shoot distances," explained Deputy Kevin Christie of the Franklin County Sheriff's Office. “We’re proficient in all types of weapons."
Weapons used by the SWAT team include the submachine gun, sniper rifle and the CornerShot. The CornerShot combines the use of a camera and a weapon, allowing officers to shoot from a concealed position.
"When you kick a door, you never know what you're going to see on the other side of the door," said Scott. "The dynamic situations they're involved in, without that training, it could cost lives."
Changes in temperature can impact shooting accuracy.
"With Ohio, a 20 degree change in temperature or a 20 degree change in humidity will move your point of impact one inch," said Dep. Tim Longshore, FCSO. "(Sometimes) you have 10 to 15 seconds to adjust and make your shot. You have to know your rifle is going to be accurate. You have to know where it is hitting."
There is limited room for error when danger calls. The 28-member team averages 100 call-outs a year.
10TV joined the SWAT team when they were called to serve a search warrant for the Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force. The warrant targeted a man suspected of sharing child pornography online.
"The suspect we're going after has quite a history, so they called us to do the entry for them," explained Sgt. Mike Raven during the briefing.
Tactical officers climbed into an armored vehicle and traveled to the suspect's Columbus home. Officers forced their way inside.
"(You must be) at the top of your game all the time, be able to be out here and perform at a high level, make split second decisions," Major Rick Minerd said.
Within minutes, three people are escorted out of the house for questioning.
The Internet Task Force entered the home and searched for evidence to determine if charges would be filed.
For SWAT team members, this kind of raid is all in a days' work.
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