Congratulations to FIAT Green Squad (posed above) for being named overall champions during a local Police SWAT competition yesterday. L-R is Hurt, Nicky G, Josh, Jew, Soup, and The Reverend. These guys put out not only physically, but with stellar marksmanship and teamwork. Even though these guys beat my FIAT Black Squad, I'm so proud of them -- afterall we're one team!
Two of the above photos were taken during the O-course, hence no gear or weapons. The telephone pole maneuvers called for coordination among members. So did the climbs up and over the shipping container with the heavy red rescue dummy.
The event consisted of five courses, with the fifth and final course being the dreaded physical exertion course (or obstacle course). Each tactical course lasted around 4-7 minutes (raw times), and the O-course lasted between 15-25 minutes.
All the competition squads put out an outstanding effort. - DuPage Sheriff SOS, Bolingbrook PD REACT, Illinois Dept of Corrections TRT, and FIAT SWAT Taskforce. To those two teams who backed out last week: You missed an incredible experience. Thanks too to the "Red Hats" - the safety officers and judges who scored targets and kept the event rolling. This was an inaugural event that will surely grow in future years. I can't believe there hasn't been a statewide competition/challenge in Illinois for years! Hopefully this will become that event! Here are the top standings:
- FIAT Green (tie breaker with IDOC)
- Illinois Dept of Corrections
- FIAT Black
I won't bore you with all the details, but here are few talking points -- especially how they relate to physical fitness:
- Markmanship: Each course was scored by completion time. Missed pistol and rifle shots came with 20-sec penalties. Missed sniper shots has a 60-sec penalty. Simply put, you cannot out-run or out-maneuver those time penalties. You MUST make shots. And to make shots, you must pace your running and exertion, have the fitness and wind to control your heart rate and breathing, and stay concentrated on the task. It makes no sense to sprint to the firing position, only to wait until your breathing is controlled. It's better to jog or lollygag to the position and get shots on target faster. Hits count.
- Procedures and Rules: All of the events were simple enough so members could remember the rules, procedures, or orders of tasks (at least in a calm and controlled state). However....with a little bit of stress and a lot of fatigue, rationale and logic began to fade. Focus turned from the course rules to physiological functions such as breathing and elevated heart rates. Yet again, without a solid base of fitness, thinking became jarred.
- Teamwork: Working as a coordinated six-man unit is just as critical as being a squared-away individual. Team members need to have an understanding of several strategies during each of the events. Also, team members need to recognize when to change strategies or responsibilities, specifically when it relates to shifting a physical burden to a more able member. Few strategies last an entire event. Team captains and members have to have to call "audibles" like a quarterback in football. And the team needs to not only understand the requested change, but be able to transition immediately.
- Physical fitness: Functional fitness is king. Obstacle and tactical courses do not distinguish between strength or cardio. All job-simulation courses demand a hybrid fitness and preparedness. Bodybuilders with "huge guns" don't necessarily fare well. These courses couldn't care less about what you look like in a mirror. Performance counts. Peak fitness allows quicker recovery between event courses, reduced chances of injury, ability to keep your mind and rationale while exerting energy, able to fire a weapon more accurately and quickly, and make movements more efficient and effectively. The time durations of 4-7 minutes reflect those peak moments during critical incidents seen in the field. Short duration = high intensity. If one is not prepared to work inside that intensity level, performance drops.
Sponsorship: the following vendors, distributors, and manufacturers donated various prizes and gifts to participants and course winners and the overall winner. These folks are asked to donate to so many great causes and events each year. They choose to support this event as one of their few. Thanks again.
Again, great job FIAT Green Squad. We're very proud of you guys!
I can't wait until next year!