To SWAT or Not: Deputies begin application process for tactical team
by Jessica Loeding
Nov 03, 2011 | 2959 views | 0 0 comments | 13 13 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Bartow County Sheriff’s Office Deputy Christopher O’Bryant does pull-ups at Pine Mountain while head of the Special Weapons and Tactics team Lt. Robert Moultrie keeps count. O’Bryant was one of five deputies testing for the SWAT team.
JESSICA LOEDING/The Daily Tribune News
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Samuel L. Jackson said it best in "S.W.A.T.," "You're either SWAT or you're not."

Five Bartow County Sheriff's Office deputies Friday began the process of applying for the Special Weapons and Tactics team. Eddie Leon, Jeremy Nadeau, Christopher O'Bryant, Cody Satterfield and Marty Teems are vying for a position on the team, with the decision expected at the end of this month.

Composed of BCSO personnel, prospective team members undergo several steps in the application process, including a physical certification, firearms testing and an interview. Candidates are required to have at least three years with the BCSO Uniform Patrol Division or prior military experience and no record of disciplinary action.

"SWAT teams are normally considered a specialized assignment, and for that reason, it is a tested position," stated an applicant form from SWAT Commander Lt. Robert Moultrie. "We test new candidates on their physical fitness, mental stability and suitability to the team structure and function."

The five men trying out began Friday with the physical portion of the application. Testing consisted of a timed event, including 10 pull-ups, 20 dips on the dip bar, 60 pushups, 100 crunches and running the Pine Mountain trail, according to BCSO Maj. Doug Duncan. "Lt. Moultrie came up with this. He's kind of sadistic."

Nadeau, who began the trial first, finished first with a time of 34 minutes. All men completed the course within the required time.

Moultrie said applicants also go before a review board comprised of himself, Duncan and "element leaders" from the SWAT team. The board looks for candidates who display an "even temperament, discipline ... and intelligence."

A firearms test will determine the five mens' ability in target acquisition drills, rapid fire sequences, shooting on the move and mechanical knowledge of a weapon's operation.

Sheriff Clark Millsap will sign off on the final decision.

SWAT is deployed in a "wide variety" of situations the fall "outside the scope of patrol" abilities, such as hostage situations, active shooters and protection details, Moultrie said.

"Tactical operations are specialized work and call for specialized individuals. ... The purpose of being a team member is not to further a political career or play dress-up and wear cool-looking uniforms. If fact, that is the last reason for you to want to be on a tactical team," according to the form.

Bartow County's SWAT team consists of 17 men and six hostage negotiators. Moultrie said positions are filled as openings become available and often there are no applicants.