Bullets fly for 'SWAT' trials

SWAT tryouts set to start Wednesday. / WFXL

A group of brave men will soon put their skills to the test in trying out for one of Albany's elite life saving teams.

Special Weapons and Tactics doesn't resonate with most people, but when you say 'SWAT team' it paints an image. However, officials say the vision that most people believe is wrong.

"They really thought that we were the death squad. They thought that if we showed up somebody was going to die and that couldn't be further from the truth," said Capt.. Tim Hanington, Albany Dougherty SWAT Team Commander.

He says the SWAT unit is about the preservation of life; saving the victims, the criminals and the team taking them down.

All 22 officers all have undergone rigorous testing for the job. For example, police officers have to score an 80 to pass their firearm exam, but for the SWAT team that score would fail.

"It's a 90 and that the minimum that you can shoot to get on the team and that's the minimum you can shoot to stay on the team," said Capt.. Michael Persley. "Once you make the team, you're expected to shoot in the high 90s."

Shooting is just one part of the job. During tryouts there are several obstacle courses to complete and then there's the oral interview that digs into the personal life and mental state of the candidate.

There are only two positions open on the Albany Dougherty SWAT Team and officials say more than likely the majority of the seven trying out won't make the cut.

"We want the best of the best and we don't want to send anyone who doesn't meet those standards out to save the community," said Michael Persley.

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