Lodi SWAT Team enters charity fitness challenge in San Leandro
Every year, the San Leandro Police Department holds its SWAT Team Fitness Challenge to benefit the George Mark Children’s House, which provides care for terminally ill children and those with chronic medical conditions.
On Thursday, members of the Lodi Police Department’s SWAT Team competed in the event for the sixth year in a row, according to Sgt. Kevin Kent, who competed along with Cpl. Carlos Fuentes, Det. Elias Ambriz and Det. Mark Werdon.
The day kicked off with a Tactical Medical Emergency Services (TEMS) race, not a part of the main challenge, in which officers were timed as they applied tourniquets to an injured arm and leg and were graded for speed and proficiency.
Next came a CrossFitinspired event in honor of Sgt. Daniel Sakai and Sgt. Ervin Romans of the Oakland Police Department’s SWAT Team, both of whom were killed in the line of duty on March 21, 2009. Each team of four officers had to complete 200 burpees, 200 sit-ups with a 20pound medicine ball and 200 jumps onto a tractor tire before two officers flipped the tire for 25 feet to a 12-foot Aframe off of which each team bounced a medicine ball 100 times, before two different officers flipped the tire an additional 25 feet back to the starting line. This was a favorite of Fuentes, who welcomes any opportunity for exercise.
“I’m not gonna lie, I’m a runner, I enjoy the physical activity,” said Fuentes
Following this, each team carried a large plastic tube and a 50-pound slinky filled with gravel and rocks for 120 feet without dropping either item, before placing the tube on the ground where they carried the slinky through it without letting the slinky touch either the ground or the inside of the tube. This went on for 10 minutes.
The next event was a 6-mile run, with each officer carrying three large jugs for the first mile. The jugs were not particularly heavy, according to Fuentes, but their large size made them awkward to carry both while running and during the subsequent 800-yard swim to a dock while wearing life jackets, even with handles on the jugs.
The officers then ran three miles to the shooting range, without jugs this time, where Kent feels right at home.
“The range was probably my favorite part of the day, it’s what I did the best in. The runs were just long,” said Kent.
Each of the four Lodi officers fired 20 rounds from their Glock 35 handguns from 15 yards in two minutes, before sprinting back to the 25-yard line where they each fired an additional 10 rounds in two minutes. The challenge ended with a 2.5-mile run to the finish line.
The Lodi SWAT Team placed 11th overall, out of 30 teams, and took fourth place in the shooting portion. Their entry donations consisted of $250 from the Police Officer’s Association of Lodi and another $250 from the Lodi City Mid-Management Association, for a total of $500.
“It was great to see the camaraderie among all the officers. Even though we were from different departments, and it got pretty competitive, we all still rooted for one another,” said Fuentes.
Above and below: Members of the Lodi Police Department’s SWAT Team participated in the SWAT Team Fitness Challenge on Thursday in San Leandro.