CAPE CORAL, Fla. - They put their lives on the line in some of Cape Coral's most dangerous situations. WINK-News wanted to know what it takes to become a member of the SWAT team.
The team trains at least once a month in Charlotte County. On top of their SWAT responsibilities, these men also work as police officers. Their training is important because a split-second decision can mean the difference between life and death.
Pushed to their physical limits, and thrown into intense situations, when the time comes to save a life, or take down a suspect, these are your guys.
"You'll be tested physically and mentally." Detective Doug Coons says in the past two years, the Cape Coral SWAT team has responded to almost 50 incidents to keep the city safe.
"The majority of the work we do is search warrants, mostly narcotic, drug search warrants," he said. "Hostage situations, barricaded gunmen, barricaded people with weapons, terrorist incidents, or any search warrants with high risk, if there's a high risk factor for violence," he said.
Becoming a part of the team takes a lot of work. You have to pass extreme physical tests. The gear alone can weigh 50 to 60 pounds. You also have to be a crack shot. While a Cape police officer has to hit the targets 80 percent of the time, the SWAT team is required to hit the targets 90 percent.
Detective Coons says over the years, improvements have been made in their tactics and the gear. "Movements inside the house, it has changed a lot. The equipment has gotten a lot better," Coons said.
When they're in life threatening situations "We try not to think about it. We train a lot, it puts us in the right mindset to get the job done," Coons said.
Communication between them is also another important aspect in the training and real-life incidents.
There are also different roles within the team. Some of them are snipers, for example.