CLEARWATER - When final scores from 66 teams of the world's finest were totaled, Clearwater Police Department (CDP) learned they came in 20th out of 66 teams in the 23rd Annual International SWAT Round-Up Competition in Orange County (Orlando). This year's competition was held November 6-11. The round-up combined head-to-head competitions with educational seminars, along with a trade show.
Awards were presented to the top 20 teams. The winning Clearwater team members are officers John Connor, Joel Morley, T. Will Rodgers, and corporals John Horning, and Robert Fava and detective Christian Zarra. They were supported by SWAT commander Lt. James Steffens, officer Kevin Matthews and CFP SWAT medic McKay.
CPD was the top Tampa Bay area team competing from Pinellas County and bested personnel from the neighboring counties of Pasco, Manatee and Hernando.
CDP not only competed against peers from neighboring Florida cities and counties but also from law enforcement personnel from other sates, most notably New York, Los Angeles and the FBI.
Teams from outside the US participating in the round-up were from Sweden, Germany, Hungary, Spain, Estonia and the United Arab Emirates.
Training lectures and seminars containing the latest in high-risk material was followed each day by an elite physical team challenge. Participants received training on a variety of topics such as homeland security, crowd management, and improving tactical skills. Various other applicable courses for SWAT Teams, Individuals and Emergency Response Teams were also conducted.
Competitions ranged from hostage and downed officer rescues to the renowned finale: the obstacle course. Each timed event was judged and penalties given for the slightest miscues.
The Round-up has been held the past 20 years in Orlando. First overall prize was 8 Olympic K3B-MIL4-A3-TC Weapon Systems from Florida Bullet & Mirage Technologies, valued at $10,000 and awarded to the Orlando Police Department.
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