Bad guys definitely want to think twice before messing with Campbell Police.
The small department has some big guns and they showed them off last week by winning top honors in a statewide SWAT team "Best of the West" competition held by the Santa Clara County Sheriff's Department.
Campbell's seven-officer team placed first in Northern California, and fourth overall behind Las Vegas, Pasadena and Glendale in a grueling competition that stretches their endurance to the limits. The best of them can hit a golf ball with a bullet from 50 yards away, according to this report on KTVU.
Campbell outran, outshot and outplayed everyone else locally and 28 other heavily-trained teams.
One of the toughest tests is a mix of obstacle course and shooting gallery called "The Jungle Trail," which was particularly demanding, with officers having to run to multiple shooting stations after carrying a rescue stretcher with a 180-pound dummy.
They'd have to run, overcome an obstacle and shoot for time. The Campbell team finished in 13 minutes and 10 seconds, 26 seconds ahead of the next competitor, Pasadena.
By comparison, Las Vegas, has a SWAT team of 50 officers, which is the size of Campbell's whole department. Campbell PD has 14 SWAT members. Larger departments have a full time SWAT team. That's all they do year round. Campbell's is on call, while officers perform other daily duties. They train monthly. This is the 20th year of the competition in Santa Clara County. It was started by Sheriff Chuck Gillingham.
"We're pretty proud of that," said Capt. Charley Adams, of the top honor in the Jungle event. "In that one event, the Jungle Run, they run a distance on the trail on a timed course where they run over obstacles -- over and under -- and shoot at targets. Sniper shots range from 75 to 200 yards. They have to hit, run, stop and shoot and at end, they have to take a shot at targets that move."
The competition helps keep SWAT members sharp on skills that mean life and death in the real world.
Last year, Campbell police officer Dan Livingston came in first the overall Top Gun individual standings.
One competition is a scenario called "Fallujah Sniper's Den"—which is based on an actual 2006 event—and was designed by Sgt. John Spagnola, sniper team leader on SERT, the Santa Clara County Sheriff's equivalent of SWAT, according to this story in Cupertino Patch.
Targets included balloons, human silhouettes and posters of armed men dressed in keffiyehs, a type of Arabic scarf. Suspect images come in a variety of depictions, from someone dressed in gang attire, or a woman carrying a knife, to a man holding a baby. One target depicted a suicide bomber and was rigged with an explosive that blew up when the target was hit.
"The whole concept of snipers came from the military," said Spagnola, when asked about the military theme of the scenario. "The first snipers were in the American Revolution ... A lot of our guys that are on SWAT were in the military."Adams said his Campbell cops are proud of their SWAT work. The competition team included: Sgt. Dan Livingston, Sgt. Gary Berg, Sgt. Dave Livingston, Agent Dave Mendez, Agent Brad Rice, Officer Dave Cameron, and Officer Will Nunn.
"We've got a very dedicated group of guys," he said. "They spend a lot of time training and take it very seriously. They put a lot of heart and soul into it."