Lori Fullbright, News On 6
TULSA, Oklahoma -- The best SWAT teams and snipers in the world are in Tulsa this week, competing for a national championship.
Teams are here by invitation and compete in a series of touch challenges at the U.S. Shooting Academy, to see who the best is.
SWAT stands for special weapons and tactics. They are the officers who deal with the worst criminals out there.
Teams are here from Germany, Canada as well many different states. Tulsa's team and Tulsa County's team are among those competing. Monday, it was all about the snipers.
This is how the two man team sniper competition begins, running, clearing a wall, then getting into position to aim at targets 75 yards away.
It's not just shooting that's tested but also communication. The observer must shoot open a plate to reveal a poker chip, then describing it to his sniper to shoot. The observer next shoots a different plate to open a box with 10 poker chips inside.
The sniper on the ground must find and shoot the corresponding poker chip inside each box as quickly as possible.
The bonus is to hit the target exactly right so it opens a door for the sniper to hit a one inch target, three quarters of a football field away. Then, it's grab your rifle and head back over the wall.
"They train all year long then come here to compete to see if their training is where it needs to be. More importantly, they meet other teams. They rub shoulders with their peers which can improve their capability," said Jack O'Connor, Executive Director.
Because criminals are more violent and better armed now, SWAT team members are called on more and more to protect innocent citizens. It's critical their skills are top notch and these challenges are designed to put them to the test.
"This championship, it's a game but with real skills that transfer to the streets. The targets are much harder to hit than in real life, the time constraints are much faster than real life," O'Connor said.
For the hostage being held or the victim being terrorized, these skills can be a matter of life and death.
The SWAT teams and SWAT team medics will compete later in the week and the national champions will be announced on Saturday.