Officers receive SWAT training outside Ft. Benning

By Chuck Leonard  - bio | email | Twitter

CHATTAHOOCHEE COUNTY, GA (WTVM) - Dozens of law enforcement officers have been camped out in Chattahoochee County, GA since Monday -- that's just outside Fort Benning. They are all from Alabama, and all involved in tactical operations. That's SWAT training for those who aren't aware.

Lee County, Alabama is hosting the event in Auburn, AL but the heavy lifting is being done at a 700-acre training site outside Cusseta, GA. It's owned by National Security Associates, a premiere military and police tactical training company.

Lee County Sheriff Jay Jones says the goal is to hone the skills of these elite specialists. "They come away from here with, what we hope is, more information about current technologies, more information about techniques, things that will help them to be as efficient as possible, as safe as possible."

Teams of officers are competing against one another. They come from big towns like Huntsville and Mobile, and smaller places like Greenville, AL. State troopers are also here from the Alabama Department of Public Safety, as well as police officers from nearby Phenix City.

They include snipers, hostage rescue experts and medically trained officers.

Sheriff Jones says being a SWAT team member takes confidence and swagger. "There are a lot of Type-A personalities here."

One example of that is Sgt. Michael Baygents, with the Tuscaloosa Police Department. When asked about his team's chances in the competition, he gets a serious look on his face "We're the best out here." Baygents pauses, then adds, "You need something else?"

It's serious work, but there is room for levity. Baygents and his team painted their helmets to look like those worn by the Alabama Crimson Tide. When asked why, he said "We thought the folks in Auburn would get a kick out of that." We'll see how that plays the day after Thanksgiving.

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