I was a guest at the Sisters in Crime, Desert Sleuths chapter meeting and I had the delight to meet a SWAT Team member. Michael Seemiller was so kind to come to the meeting to demonstrate his equipment and to inform us on what it is really like to be on the SWAT Team.
These pictures are of Michael showing us his SWAT vest. Some of the items on the vest include; earpiece for communication, water bottle, ammo clips, radio, flashlight, door-stop called a wedge, cuffs and key, and a flash-bang.
The vest is bullet proof, of course. We asked him if he'd be hurt if someone hit the clips of ammo on the front of the vest. He said, "no" and I was surprised.
This is the other part of what he wears. It is a belt with more ammo, a pistol, an extra set of cuffs, and what he called a dump pouch where he can throw stuff when he doesn't have any other place for it.
The vest and belt weighs about 65 lbs.
They also wear a helmet, goggles, knee pads, some choose to wear elbow pads, and they have this winter-type mask that covers most of their face and neck. Maybe this would be a good time to remind you that we live in Arizona and they get the most calls during the summer months. Can you imagine wearing all of this during that time of year? When it averages 114 degrees?!?!
Some other interesting facts:
- Most officers are in their careers for at least 4 years before trying out for the SWAT Team.
- There isn't an age limit for who can be on the SWAT Team.
- Females have the same requirements as the males.
- They are on call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Most of them still hold their jobs on the police force as well as being on the SWAT Team.
- To get onto the SWAT Team, they have to go through an obstacle course test, a firearms qualification test, written exam, and then an oral board exam. This is all in one day. After they are done with the oral board, they are put in a room alone to wait until the person comes in to tell them if they passed or not.
- If they pass, they go to SWAT Basic School which lasts for two weeks. This school is on a pass or fail standard and you can fail out at any time. How crazy is that?
- If you fail, you have to wait until the next testing time which is 1 year in his department.
He is demonstrating the flashlight on his Glock. This is the
issued firearm for his department.
I don't know about you, but I'm thankful we have outstandingly brave people like Michael protecting our community!