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Teams nationwide descend on Connecticut for pressure-filled SWAT Challenge

The 19th year of this high-intensity challenge brings teams from across the country.

EAST GRANBY, Conn. — What began modestly in 2005, has evolved into a competition that brings teams from across the country. The Connecticut SWAT Challenge just finished up a week’s worth of events and educational courses all geared to train both police and some military teams at the highest level. 

Chris Chappell, a retired West Hartford Police Lieutenant, and former SWAT operative, has served as the deputy director of the Connecticut SWAT Challenge since the very beginning. 

"There is so much stuff going on, there are so many moving parts, we have the helicopter, we’ve got live fire shooting -- so we throw everything we’ve got at them,” Chapell laughed. "Including the kitchen sink.”

This year – the 19th year of the SWAT Challenge, teams from as far away as Virginia and Texas were on hand to compete. Officer Max Mennino, from the Chesterfield County Virginia SWAT team, said of the event known as the “Last Shadow Mystery Challenge”, “it puts you in high-stress situations, probably as close as you can get to real life with the pressure of your teammates - it makes it as realistic as possible.”

Chappell was quick to mention that the events, which over the years have included, PT challenges and hostage rescue scenarios are as much about the camaraderie as they are about the competition. 

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“They’re going head-to-head, they’re not friends, but, when they come off the field, they’re all shaking hands, they’re giving hugs and they’re all trying to do the same mission.," Chappell said. 

A by-product of the Connecticut SWAT Challenge is that the events also raise money for Our Heroes Fund which is a charitable organization that helps to raise money for first responders like police officers, firefighters, paramedics, and EMTs that are fighting back from an injury or disease. To learn more about the Our Heroes Fund, click here

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Jimmy Altman is a reporter at FOX61 News. He can be reached at jaltman@fox61.com. Follow him on Facebook, X and Instagram.


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