Syracuse's SWAT team is being recognized as one of the best in the state. Back in December of 2010, New York implemented new guidelines for SWAT team training. Since then, Syracuse is one of only three teams that have completed the rigorous requirements needed for certification. Candace Hopkins gets a firsthand look at the training methods.
SYRACUSE, N.Y. -- When a SWAT team is called out to a standoff, hostage situation or similar incidents they never know what kind of challenges lie ahead. That's why these officers undergo specialized training, in hopes of containing a situation that could escalate quickly.
"You have somebody who is distraught, maybe they're intoxicated, mentally ill, that type of thing. Sometimes, if time permits and you can bring a tactical team in there and kinda slow it down, your chances for a successful conclusion are a lot greater," said Sgt. John Savage of the Syracuse Police Department.
Syracuse's SWAT Team has spent countless hours training in abandoned buildings, malls, schools and private homes, all places that could be vulnerable targets. Thursday we got a look at their operations inside the old candle factory off Park Street in Liverpool. We watched as they detonated a flash bang, used to leave suspects disorientated and cleared each room of threats.
"We want to rectify the situation as fast as possible and as safe as possible, the longer these things draw out, it allows the bad guy per say to formulate his plan of what he wants to do to repel us," said Detective Dan Babbage.
All of their training has now paid off. The team has been certified by the State Division of Criminal Justice Services, along with each individual member. That certification isn't a state mandate, but was a goal the team strived to achieve.
"There's been probably a year and a half process for us to do that, because there were things right at the very foundation that we needed to change and adjust to from training itself, training documentation, equipment that needed to be purchased," said Savage.
And strict physical fitness standards that had to be met. But despite the steep requirements, each member of the Syracuse team has exceeded them, establishing themselves as one of New York's elite SWAT Teams.