SIMSBURY -- The third week of August is usually fairly quiet around central Connecticut, unless you are in the Simsbury area.
For the 11th year in a row, the top tactical teams in the country have come to the area to compete in the Connecticut SWAT Challenge. In 2015, 32 participated on the State Police Rifle Range in events like the "Mystery Challenge" where they are presented with scenarios that have them sprinting through obstacles, crawling under cars, and sharp shooting far away targets.
"Everyone here is now better trained and better equip than they were yesterday," said Lt. Chris Chappell, the co-director of the SWAT Challenge.
With recent tradegies like the Newtown shootings and Boston Marathon bombing, Chappell said the teams are put in circumstances that replicate real-life crises that they could face in any large city or small town across the country.
"No city or town is immune from this type of stuff," he said. "It's a sad reality we face."
The officers are also provided classroom time and offered the chance to take workshops in such disciplines as advanced sniper training and the open rifle challenge.
After navigating the course and dropping various targets, Trooper Brian Dunkin from the Indiana State Police SWAT team said, "It forces you to push yourself and become better at what you do, I think it helps us stay a step ahead."
Lt. Chappell says while the teams are all hoping to come out on top in the various events spread across the three days of competition, they all realize they are part of the same team.
"We have quite the brotherhood and sisterhood going here," Chappell said. "They all want to win, they all want to play hard but, in the end, they understand they are on the same team, fighting for the same cause."
Learn more about the events at the Connecticut SWAT Challenge by clicking here.