Thursday night I found myself wearing SWAT gear, a helmet, holding a gun, ready to do a drug bust and wondering what the heck I was getting myself into.
No, I am not an undercover SWAT officer or getting ready to go into combat. I was attending the weekly Matagorda County Law Enforcement Academy.
When I heard we would be learning more about SWAT and what they do I was very intrigued. I blame my journalist side of my brain and wanting to explore and learn new things.
I have seen enough X-Files episodes and Flashpoint episodes to know SWAT officers work hard.
The night started off with officers describing the gear, the cost, what they carry and how they use it. Then the night got even more exciting when they said they would be simulating a drug bust and house break in. When they first walked in yelling, “Sheriff’s office, get on the ground!” holding guns and then firing - it was thrilling for me. Then they asked for volunteers. Oh surely I can’t do that, I thought.
Two volunteers went before me, I stood in the front of the class observing what they were doing, how they were putting their gear on.
“Adriana, go next,” said Lt. Baker.
“Me, oh no, that’s OK,” I said in a shy voice. Although my inner self was jumping up and down for joy because I really wanted to wear that gear and hold that gun.
So off I went to the hallway to put on the gear.
First I couldn’t believe how heavy the gear was. Second, I couldn’t imagine how they could carry guns and bend their arms around all the gear. It felt like I was carrying 20 extra pounds on me.
Once the officer put the gear on me, I couldn’t move. I felt like the blueberry girl from Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory, you know the little girl that turned blue after eating that blueberry candy and they had to roll her out of there?
I couldn’t even reach my arms to put on my glasses.
This is so embarrassing I thought.
“So what you are going to do is we are going inside and you are going to yell ‘sheriff’s office, sheriff’s office get on the ground’,” said the SWAT officer calmly.
When I get angry I raise my voice, but I don’t yell. I couldn’t even harm a mosquito if it came flying straight into my face.
So here I was, SWAT gear, gun in my right hand and ready to scare my fellow students at an attempt to sound tough.
Officer held me from behind, and pushed me as I attempted to walk fast with the gun.
“Sheriff’s office, get down!” I said.
I pointed the gun to the targets, shot a few shots and then it was all over.
People clapped and cheered.
I am not a real officer and I know I will never be an officer, but that night shed some light on what they do to protect us civilians.
I get a thrill out of wearing that gear and holding that gun, but I know that if I ever had to do this for real, well I would rather turn in to the blueberry girl and roll away.
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