The skills and training of Hattiesburg Police Department paid off recently, as the department placed first and third in the third annual South Mississippi SWAT Competition, during which 60 members of several local law enforcement agencies put their physical and mental skills to the test.
In addition to HPD, the two-day competition – which was held Oct. 30 and 31 at the department’s Lakeview Pistol Range – featured Petal Police Department, Jones County Sheriff’s Department, Lamar County Sheriff’s Office and Forrest County Sheriff’s Office. The SWAT Team officers competed in physical fitness, obstacle courses, shooting and relays.
“It was anything that entailed pushing them to the maximum and their extreme limits,” said Ryan Moore, public information officer for HPD.
The Hattiesburg Police Viper Team placed first place overall, followed by the Lamar County Sheriff’s Office in second place and the Hattiesburg Police Cobra Team in third place.
“That’s outstanding for our guys, not only as much as they train, but as hard as they work,” Moore said. “The competition this year was no easy feat, by any means.
“The end of the day was an obstacle course that had them push a car about 200 yards, and they had to pick up and carry a boat. It pushed them to the max, and by the time they were finished with that, these guys gave all they had. On top of that, you have to add in the shooting, the wall climbing, the running and overall teamwork.”
Nate Robertson of the Forrest County Sheriff’s Office was awarded Top Shot Rifle, while Adam Woodard of Petal Police Department earned Top Shot Pistol and 3-Gun Match, in which he competed with a handgun, a shotgun and an AR-15.
“It’s always a good time,” Woodard said. “It’s a chance to get to know all the other SWAT Teams, so if something happened where we’d all have to get together, we can get together and train and learn things from each other.”
Lamar County hosted the event the first year, followed by Petal Police Department the second year and HPD this year. Jones County is expected to host next year.
“It’s a great time for them to have fun and fellowship with other agencies in the area, but it’s also about learning – what we can take away from other SWAT Teams and what our guys can offer them,” Moore said. “When something does happen, and all of our resources are needed, no matter what, (those other agencies) are coming.
“Just like if they have something, we’re always going to them. So at the end of the day, if we can have some time to train together, or to know how the next person is going to react, it always makes it easier on our guys just knowing what they’re going to encounter.”