Local Cops Among SWAT Tops

UNION COUNTY—Members of the Union County Emergency Response Team tied for seventh place out of 38 teams that competed in what has been called the Police Olympics.

The team produced three top-ten finishes in events at the Connecticut SWAT Challenge, including first place in the Hostage Rescue challenge, sixth place in the Vehicle Assault challenge and fifth place in the Handgun challenge.


“They make fun of us because we talk differently and we make fun of them because we haven’t hear an ‘R’ since we’ve been up here, but aside from that the guys have been tremendous,” Lt. Dennis Burke, the team captain, told a local television station, “It’s really something we enjoy.”

Burke lead a team that included detectives Jordan Jeffer, Mark Stallone, Dan Fay, and Brendan Sullivan, sergeants Kevin Skiper, John Cook, and John DiPasquale, Officers Dan Sims and Doug Stoffer, and sheriff’s officer James Guerrant.  Cpl. Sean Dougherty was the team coach.

Now in its fifth year, the challenge has quickly grown to become the third largest event of its kind in the United States, behind only the Texas and Florida SWAT Round Ups.

The competition featured seven timed events; each team was awarded a ranking in each event from one through thirty-eight based on their respective time.  The lowest aggregate score after all events was the winner. This competition modeled their events on real life experiences that various teams from the New England area encountered in years past to maximize on the realism that participants encountered.

The competition also featured what it billed as the toughest physical conditioning event in any law enforcement competition in the US.

This was the second year that UCERT competed in the event, hosted by the West Hartford Police Department and featuring 38 teams from Connecticut, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, New York and New Jersey, Pennsylvania and New Hampshire and federal agencies.

There were over 360 participants in the team portion of the SWAT Challenge plus 200 others in the individual open pistol and rifle events.

Lt. Dennis Burke, of the Union County Police, captained the team that tied for seventh place out of 38 united that competed in the 2009 SWAT Challenge.

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