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By Sophia Voravong
Journal and Courier

LAFAYETTE, Ind. - Over three days this month, members of the Lafayette Police Department's SWAT team were pushed to their physical and mental limits.
They were asked to shoot targets accurately under stressful conditions and lift their own body weight while hanging from a rope upside down.
For four of the six participating SWAT members, it was their first time competing in the Indiana SWAT Officers Association's annual event. But together, they scored high enough to place third overall.
"This competition replicates a lot of the training that we do. It emphasizes the need for them to be in top physical condition," said Lt. Brad Bishop, commander of Lafayette's SWAT team. "It also helps to build team cohesiveness because to succeed, they have to depend on each other."
The Indiana SWAT competition was held Oct. 1 through 3 in Muncie, with 11 teams of six from throughout the state participating. Emergency response teams from the Indiana State Police took home first and second places.
But Bishop notes that those teams are full-time, meaning any work hours not spent serving warrants or similar SWAT duties are devoted to training.
Members of Lafayette's team -- Detective Joe Clyde and officers Mike Brown, Jason Walters, Jared Sowders, AJ Mellady and Chad Robinson -- have daily investigative or patrol duties.
Bishop, who competed in three prior Indiana SWAT events, said they spend about 20 hours of their own time for SWAT training.
"I'm really proud of them," he said. "They give a lot of personal sacrifices."
The competition consisted of five events that required officers to run, climb, lift heavy objects and shoot various targets. It also included a lengthy obstacle course. Penalty points were subtracted for missed shots and procedural violations.
Lafayette's team finished the obstacle course in less than four minutes, Bishop said, placing it first in that event and helping to push the team to third place overall.
Chief Don Roush went to Muncie to watch the first day of the competition and praised his officers' performance.
"It was all very grueling and very demanding," he said. "It's indicative of how hard they work to provide tactical services for the citizens of Lafayette."

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