The Santa Clara County Sheriff's Office is playing host to the "Best in the West" SWAT team competition, in which about 25 SWAT teams from up and down the West Coast will participate.
A flurry of SWAT activity is taking place in San Jose this week but it's not cause for worry. Instead, everyone should be happy these hardcore cops are spending some time in the South Bay.
The goal of the competition, as the name implies, is to find the most outstanding and effective SWAT team in the western United States. Several teams from the Bay Area will also be competing. The contest, now in its 18th year, is scheduled for Thursday and Friday.
The teams will gather at the sheriff's range in south San Jose to compete in several events, including a physical challenge course, a sniper course, and a "live fire house" exercise, in which real ammunition is used during a simulated rescue mission, Santa Clara County sheriff's spokesman Sgt. Rick Sung said.
The Santa Clara County SWAT team does not participate in the event, but its members serve as judges, awarding points for the various events.
While the winning team certainly celebrates, victory is not the main goal, Sung said.
"This particular competition is not just for SWAT team members to show up and boast who's good and who's not," he said. "It's more a workshop for all SWAT team members, to congregate and learn from each other, how certain situations dictate different tactics."
Sung said, however, that the competition is often fierce because "SWAT team members are expected to do things beyond the capabilities of regular deputies or beat officers."
The event is sponsored by corporate and private donations, and is closed to the public for safety reasons. The event starts with an opening ceremony at 7 a.m. Thursday.
Bay City News contributed to this report.