SWAT breaks down doors during training

SWAT team members say when breaking into a home, their first focus is safety / Sarah Bleau

When entering the house of a criminal, it's a little more than just walking through the door for the SWAT team.

For members of the Albany-Dougherty area SWAT team, building entry was the lesson of the day Thursday with the Georgia Association of Law Enforcement Firearms Instructors.

"They're very viable skills they're learning today, they take all of the skills they utilize out here in the field and it makes them a safer officer whenever they do operations," says Chad Norris, trainer and Barrow County Sheriff's Office Investigator

They are techniques SWAT team members use during drug busts and high-risk search warrants. They say their first focus during such situations is about safety.

"The technique that we're using is I feel is really safe and its different from what we've been doing in the past and something that we can really use," says Capt. Sam Hill, SWAT team member at officer.

Hill is also an officer with the Dougherty County School System Police and says they use training such as this more often than people may think.

"Everybody's heard of the active shooter situation we have all over the country involved in the school systems and colleges," says Norris. "We have to use entry methods like we used in training today (Thursday)".

They are methods that the Albany-Dougherty SWAT team are mastering according to trainers.

"It's a change of pace from what we're used to, we usually train inexperienced swat team members, and having a swat team that's fully experienced is a breath of fresh air," says Norris.

Team members say training like this is vital to giving newer SWAT members a baseline and enhancing veteran members' skills.

"The more reps that you get in, the more it becomes second nature to everybody on the team," says Hill. "You're always going to resort back to your training and that's the thing that we always want people to resort back to."

SWAT team members train on building entry with the help of property donated to the team by a local church.

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