Sunnyside officers earn SWAT certification in week-long training.

January 1, 2010 By Jennie McGhan Daily Sun News

Sunnyside Training
Preparing to breach a home for the purposes of training to become certified SWAT team members are Sunnyside police officers (L-R) Johnnie Gusby, T.J. Orth, Skip Lemmon and Jaime Prieto.

This week has been rigorous for 10 of Sunnyside's finest. The police officers and a fire department captain have been undergoing basic concepts and tactics training to become fully certified SWAT team members.

According to Sunnyside Police Department Administrative Assistant to the Chief of Police, Charlotte Hinderlider, many of the officers have worked with SWAT before.

"They have trained with SWAT, but were not qualified members," she stated.

This week the officers learned to work together at two different homes on the former Monson feedlot property that were set up for training purposes.

"They learned dynamic entry and how to protect their partners," Hinderlider said, stating the skills are honed continuously to provide proficiency.

The training, provided by GTI Training of South Carolina, is one of the initiatives of the United States Department of Homeland Security.

The officers are required to train for 40 hours, and their training includes firearms training on the Sun Valley Firing Range in Moxee. The officers are trained with a variety of weapons, including assault rifles.

Officers become familiarized with high-risk warrant scenarios, vehicle assaults, citizen team member recovery and ballistic breaching, as well.

They receive practical instruction from a trained and experienced GTI trainer. This week, the Sunnyside officers have worked with a veteran of both military and law enforcement, Scott Peterson.

The basic SWAT training also includes instruction on terrorism and tactical considerations when dealing with a terrorist threat, and physical training is a part of the daily routine while participating in the program.

The two homes the Sunnyside officers trained in provided numerous possibilities for scenarios that might be experienced when dealing with a situation requiring SWAT.

One home has two levels and an expansive first floor of more than 1,800 sq. ft. The second home contained numerous places for a suspect to hide, including more than six different closet spaces.

"This training will provide our officers the experience and certifications they need to further provide safety for Sunnyside residents," said Hinderlider.