PIERCE COUNTY — Thousands of commuters rely on public transportation to get them to and from places. But what happens when something goes wrong inside of a bus? The Pierce County Swat team is training for just that scenario. Detective John Delgado helps run the SWAT team and says, “Today we’re running scenarios using a bus from sound transit. We’re simulating that the bus has been taken hostage and our swat team has to deal with the problem. We know that in a perfect world, we’re not going to get a bus in an open parking lot so they’re approaching it in different areas.”
This team is made up of twenty-four men, two medical doctors, some are former military and all of them are highly trained.
“If anybody decides to take one of our buses hostage, whether it be a school bus or the public transit system, we’re prepared,” Delgado warns.
They train at least twice a month and each time the scenario is different. Some are in parking lots, others are underground, in wooded areas and even mountains. Detective Delgado recalls, “We’ve been on Mt. Rainier with snow shoes and never expected to do that before. And most of the team’s first time wearing snow shoes was that day but we did it because someone killed a park ranger.”
SWAT teams are on the front lines of danger always preparing for a breech in the safety that most of us take for granted, with little regard for their own well-being.
“It’s a calling. You know, these guys all volunteer to be here. I don’t think we think about what could happen to us, we don’t think about that. We just think about the mission that’s in front of us.”