BRISTOL - The SWAT team that covers Bristol and multiple surrounding towns took first place this week in a regional skills competition that includes 31 teams from several states.
This is the fifth time since 2005 that the Central Region Emergency Response Team won the Connecticut SWAT Challenge - which brands itself as the nation’s premier tactical competition. CRERT covers Bristol, Plainville, Southington and Plymouth, and includes officers from each town.
“We love to compete,” said Bristol Police Officer Charles Jacobs, who served as team leader for CRERT during the competition.
Jacobs said it’s always good for the SWAT team to test its skills and compare them to the skill sets of teams around the country.
In addition to CRERT being named the top SWAT team, Bristol Police Officer Gregory Giannini took the title of “Top Cop” - an individual competition.
The three-day competition took place from Tuesday to Thursday in West Hartford and Simsbury. Many of the teams are from Connecticut, but some come from nearby states like Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Pennsylvania, while others come all the way from Indiana and Texas.
Of the 22 members of CRERT, 14 come from the Bristol Police Department. Ten members represented the team during the competition.
The events that made up the competition measured a team’s abilities in tactics, shooting proficiency and other skills often used by SWAT members. Some of the time-based challenges included shooting moving targets, surrounded by what’s supposed to simulate innocent civilians, carrying a colleague to safety, water crossings, wall climbs and other tests.
One challenge required teams to enter a home where a simulated hostage situation was in progress. Competitors had to shoot the suspect within a few seconds of making their way into the room where he was, otherwise they would be penalized.
Many of the challenges, Jacobs said, require participants to fight through factors that could come into play in the real world.
“It tests your ability to center yourself,” he said.
“It tests our skills of precision. This is validation to see that you’re good at your job.”
Justin Muszynski can be reached at 860-973-1809 or firstname.lastname@example.org.