September 15, 2005

By Tom Burkindine
The Kaselehlie Press

Representatives from the Guam SWAT Team were involved in the training of 12 Pohnpei State Police officers last month. The Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) Team is the first within the FSM and targets extreme criminal activity with specialized training.

As the lead trainer from the Guam Police Department, Sgt. Ken Castro, said during a ceremony of completion at the Pohnpei Department of Public Safety, "When the public needs help, they call the police. When the police need help, they call the SWAT Team."

The three-week, 120-hour training ended on September 2 and was followed by a live drill in which members enacted a hostage situation. Following a sniper's shot, SWAT members repelled down the side of a building while another group charged in from the ground. Although only a simulation using blank ammunition, the effects of the training were easily seen as officers rushed a school bus and had subdued the 'criminal' within minutes.

Director of Pohnpei Department of Public Safety Rulens Phillip said specialized training of law enforcement officials is more necessary than ever."In this day and age, we have to be ready to handle any emergency," Phillip said.

According to Castro, who was accompanied by three additional GPD SWAT Team members, SWAT requires the highest level of discipline and professionalism. Along with close-quarter combat training, members are trained in the use of the AR15 semi-automatic rifle, tracking, repelling, vehicle recovery, and executive protection. Members are also trained to handle weapons of mass destruction. While the training was thorough, Castro said that the officers would require additional training in the future.

"Although they have received fundamental training, these officers still require more training," Castro said. "The training is never-ending."Following the presentation of pins and certificates to team members, Castro said the members of the team would be a good addition to the law enforcement community on Pohnpei."This team should make you proud," Castro said. "And they should be proud to be the first SWAT Team representing Pohnpei."