Officers gather from around the world for Columbia SWAT training - wistv.com - Columbia, South Carolina

Officers gather from around the world for Columbia SWAT training

(Columbia) April 12, 2006 - Officers from around the globe are in Columbia for training that could potentially save lives.

They're SWAT team officers, learning tactics they may not use everyday. But the training is still crucial.

Sgt. Chris Butzer says, "No matter where it is there are threats, these specialized elements have to respond to these specialized threats and they have to deal with undetermined situations."

The Columbia Police Department is hosting a three-week SWAT training class.

Officers from as far away as the country of Norway are there to learn tactics like entry. Officer Brian Skotnes talks about how it helps them, "It's good. It's good to see how other countries do so, much the same, just as in Norway."

Repelling is just one part of SWAT team training, and WIS' Maggie Alexander tried her hand at it, calling it "scary but thrilling." [Watch Maggie Alexander at SWAT training]

And Maggie wasn't the only woman at the SWAT training.

Officer Mary Sumter is an eight-year veteran of the Columbia police SWAT team, "I came to the police department because I wanted to help people. I worked at an office. I wanted something faster."

It's obviously a profession dominated by men, but that wasn't going to stop Sumter, "I got on the SWAT team because I wanted to prove it, prove to myself and everyone else."

Sumter pulls double duty, working on the SWAT team and K-9 unit, "I enjoy it. The guys treat me like one of the guys."

So what's next for the long-haired crime fighter? "Maybe I'll get promoted. I don't know, just anything. I like trying different things keep the job exciting."

Reported by Maggie Alexander

Updated 10:10pm by Chantelle Janelle

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