In times of mass shootings, SWAT work requires special breed of - wistv.com - Columbia, South Carolina

In times of mass shootings, SWAT work requires special breed of officer

The department’s Special Response Team undergoes advanced training to combat a wide range of emergency scenarios, from sniper and hostage situations to waterborne assaults, explosives, and terrorist activities. (Source: WIS) The department’s Special Response Team undergoes advanced training to combat a wide range of emergency scenarios, from sniper and hostage situations to waterborne assaults, explosives, and terrorist activities. (Source: WIS)
COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) -

The shooting deaths of nearly 60 people and injuries to hundreds more in Las Vegas have shocked the world.

But the toll could have been even worse if not for the intervention of the city’s SWAT team. The Washington Post reports it took the SWAT team 20 minutes to locate gunman Stephen Paddock’s hotel room, one of more than 3,300 rooms at the Mandalay Bay hotel.

A former Las Vegas Metropolitan Police lieutenant told CBS the SWAT team zeroed in on the room after the smoke from his automatic weapon set off a smoke detector.

By the time officers set off an explosive charge to enter the room, Paddock had taken his own life. The demands of such operations require a special type of law enforcement officer, says Richland County Deputy Chief Chris Cowan.

The department’s Special Response Team undergoes advanced training to combat a wide range of emergency scenarios, from sniper and hostage situations to waterborne assaults, explosives, and terrorist activities.

“A lot of it’s about attitude. A lot of it’s about teamwork…it’s the ability to cope under stress,” Cowan says.

“We’re not necessarily about having someone who can shoot or somebody that can run as much as they are about how they handle stress.”

Richland County has a full-time SRT unit along with two others with members considered part-time. The department’s web site says SRT members “are expected to perform at a higher standard due to the danger and complexity of the missions presented.”

Each must pass a quarterly physical fitness test and an annual 40-hour recertification qualification to remain on the team.

Richland SRT members were deployed recently to locate and arrest two suspects in the August 22nd assault on 81-year old Sears store employee Charles Duaine Hamilton.

Investigators say the men shoved Hamilton, causing a fatal head injury after he tried to stop them from leaving the store with stolen TV sets.

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