Tactical Training: A WAFF 48 News Special Report - WAFF-TV: News, Weather and Sports for Huntsville, AL

Tactical Training: A WAFF 48 News Special Report

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MADISON COUNTY, AL (WAFF) -

Many times here on WAFF 48 News, we use the phrase "the SWAT Team was called in." When you hear that, you know it's serious. It's crunch time. Lives are on the line.

As we tagged along during SWAT Team training, I found myself with a newfound respect for these brave, dedicated, and disciplined people who devote their lives to saving lives.

A deadly shooting on the UA-Huntsville campus.

"We see the SWAT Team has been called in."

A man barricades himself in a home in Decatur, waving a gun.

The SWAT Team is there.

A tense standoff at a Huntsville apartment complex.

Again, time for these highly-trained professionals to diffuse danger.

"You can't afford mistakes on a SWAT operation," said John Stringer with the Madison SWAT Team.

A bad day on the job for these guys could be deadly.

"We train and train and train some more. Good is not good enough," Stringer said.

That's why Stringer and the members of the Madison SWAT Team are so meticulous here on the shooting range.

Every shot, every move, choreographed and communicated. The ultimate team.

They have 8 members. Many try; few can clear the physical, mental, and emotional hurdles to make it.

"There's a certain satisfaction of being a part of something not just anybody can be a part of," said Stringer.

As we watch, they sweat, they gasp. After trying on their body armor and trying to run, I'm gasping too. Those 50 pounds feel like 150. The weight on their shoulders much like the pressure they shoulder.

So they concentrate and push on. Lives depend on it.

A few miles away, the Huntsville SWAT Team is playing a high-stress game of hide-and-seek.

they're gearing up to go inside using simulated weapons. They're sharpening their skills to enter and clear a building. They'll do this for hours.

 "The key is trust. You have to know the guy to your left and the guy to your right is going to cover your back," said Huntsville SWAT Team leader, Scott Widner.

They even showed me what it's like to be the hunted…

I'm just glad they're on my side.

Listen and watch as they move, in unison. They are tracking down two more "pretend" bad guys. The precision, the professionalism is just amazing. You can't do this job halfway. These guys are special.

"You gotta be willing to put the equipment on and go into a building knowing someone's in there," said Widner.

If they have to use deadly force, they will. And they can.

 "If we have to take it, God forbid, that shot is going exactly where it needs to go," Stringer said.

But for all of these guys, the ultimate goal isn't to take life, it's to preserve it.

"To end the situation... Nobody harmed and the offender's in custody," said Widner.

So that everybody goes home at the end of the day, to train and wait for that next call, when lives are on the line.

By the way, SWAT stands for "Special Weapons and Tactics". SWAT Team leaders in Huntsville say they're always looking for places to train. If you have a building, vacant or occupied, they'd love to use it. They won't do any damage. Just send me an e-mail, and I'll pass it along.

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