WEST HARTFORD, Conn. — The Indiana State Police SWAT team tested its mettle against some of the country’s premier special weapons and tactics team Aug. 13-15 and was not found wanting.
The Indiana State Police team finished fifth overall amid a field of 31 teams that included an entry from the 3rd Battalion 75th Regiment of U.S. Army Rangers, a team from Georgia and a team representing the Texas Department of Energy, which consisted of former special forces operators.
The Indiana State Police team consisted of five members from the North Team, which is responsible for the northern half of the state, two from the South Team and one from the Central Team.
Representatives of the North Team included Trooper Chris McCreery of Kendallville and Trooper Justin Superczynski of Angola. Senior Trooper Scott Meyer, who grew up in Wolcottville and Decatur, also was on the team.
“I’m extremely proud of all of our performances,” McCreery said.
The competition has been held for 15 years, and this is the fourth year the Indiana State Police has competed.
The fifth-place finish ties the best-ever placing for the ISP, but McCreery said this year’s showing is more impressive considering the caliber of the competition.
A team composed of central Connecticut SWAT team members, drawn from multiple teams in the area, won with 23 points in the seven-event competition.
The 3rd Battalion 75th Regiment of U.S. Army Rangers placed second with 39 points. The Indiana State Police finished with 55 points.
Points were given according to rankings in each of the seven team events.
In the 31-team field, the ISP managed top 10 finishes in six of seven competitions. The team’s lowest finish was 12th.
The team finished third in a hostage rescue scenario, in which it had to enter a building it was unfamiliar with and rescue a girlfriend and grandfather of a “bad guy.”
“It was a quick reaction to very limited information,” McCreery said.
Watching how other teams operate offered some tips on things the ISP can do differently, something that can be difficult to glean if the team is just training with its own members.
“You start to lose touch with different innovations you can use,” McCreery said. “It really does play out to be very good training for us.”
“It’s very beneficial,” Superczynski said. “It’s nice going to a different area and a different setup. It was awesome training. The competitions were good.”
Such a high finish also showed how ready the Indiana State Police SWAT teams are to handle a crisis.
“It validated a lot of our standard operating procedures and tactics,” McCreery said.
According to a news release, the competition is designed to pit law enforcement and military SWAT teams from around the nation against each other in both team and individual head-to-head competitive events, tactical training seminars and other activities designed to enhance the leadership and professional development of tactical teams nationwide.
The competitive events in these challenges are generally designed to replicate real-world tactical situations, according to McCreery, such as hostage rescues, tactical medical rescues or high-risk warrant service scenarios. Teams apply their knowledge, experience and physical abilities to accomplish each event’s objectives safely and successfully in the fastest ranked times.
“These SWAT Challenges can never truly recreate the real world dangers or physical and emotional stresses that SWAT operators face on the job each and every day,” Sgt. Jim Stanley, North Team leader, said in a news release. “What you can create is a highly competitive fast paced environment that most SWAT operators thrive well in, where the team success requires each member to perform with 110% effort or better. When bragging rights are on the table, the self-imposed physical and mental stress can often be just as taxing as real world stressors, because failure is never an option.”
This year’s ISP CSC Challenge team was comprised of nine SWAT Troopers, handpicked from these teams based on specific strengths and areas of expertise.