When it’s time to call in the SWAT team, you want to know the best of the boys in blue are geared up and ready to go.
Wednesday, eight of Ardmore Police Department’s 14 man SWAT squad traveled to Oklahoma City to compete against nine other teams from around the state.
Team Leader Sgt. Brice Woolly said the APD team was pitted against teams with three times as many members — and still managed to come out toward the top of the heap.
“I think it makes the wins more impressive, knowing we were up against teams of 16-30 men,” Woolly said. “Some of the larger teams were multi-jurisdictional across as many as five departments.”
Woolly said Ardmore was not only the smallest SWAT team group, but also represented the smallest police force as well.
Cpl. Juan Galicia and Officer Billy Mitchell  won both 1st and 2nd in the pistol/handgun competition and five of the team members came in 3rd overall in the obstacle course. The competitive events were timed and focused on strength and tasks that required precision team work. Other events included three gun, sniper and rifle courses, where the team steadily improved throughout the day, coming out in the middle of the pack.
Larger teams from Stillwater and the Lighthorse Police Departments took first and second place, with Ardmore’s team pulling in third. “For us to be ranked 3rd overall behind these two teams, we were very pleased,” Woolly said. The larger teams were able to have each competitor do one event each, whereas Ardmore’s team members each competed in multiple events, Woolly said.
“I am honored to be part of a team who went up and took it so seriously,” Woolly said.
The APD SWAT team had not competed in events like these for about 10 years due to the size of the police force and the necessity to have sufficient officers on shift at home. The SWAT team trains together monthly and occasionally joins with the Carter County SWAT team for joint training sessions.