If you see a SWAT team in full gear surrounding a building in San Jose this week, it’s probably no cause for alarm. For the sixteenth year, the city is playing host to some two dozen SWAT teams from along the West Coast for a series of competitions and matches to find out who is the “Best in the West.” They’ll be running the obstacle course, sniping, and even assaulting a building with live ammo to simulate a rescue mission. In the end, the panel of judges will decide which SWAT team keeps their residents the safest.
Sergeant Rick Sung of the Santa Clara County Sheriff’s Office says that the event is more than just a chance for the bravest of the brave to show off their prowess. He calls it a “workshop,” where the team members get “to congregate and learn from each other, how certain situations dictate different tactics.” Then again, winning can also feel good.
So how does Santa Clara County’s SWAT team measure up? We won’t know by the end of the week. As the host of the event, the local SWAT team will not be participating in the competition. Instead, its members will be serving as judges and deciding which of the other teams performs best. And that’s quite a compliment. After all, what it really means is that all the other SWAT teams from Seattle to San Diego will have to measure up to our standards.
Oh, and criminals beware. This probably is not the week you want to try anything nefarious in Sana Clara County. The risks are greater than ever.