Stamford Special Response Team earns top honors at Connecticut SWAT Challenge

The team was one of 24 SWAT teams to participate in the event.

Aug 24, 2023, 4:16 PM

Updated 270 days ago

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The Stamford Police Department's Special Response Team has returned home after earning second place at the Connecticut SWAT Challenge in East Granby last week. 
The three-day event featured several competitions, which focused on skills like decision making, marksmanship and physical fitness. The Stamford Special Response Team was one of 24 teams from across the country that participated.
"Coming in second against teams that we have a high level of respect for makes us a believer in what we're doing in terms of our training regimen is working," Capt. Chris Baker, the senior team leader, said. 
The Connecticut SWAT challenge began in 2005. The Stamford Special Response Team has been taking part for about a decade. The team currently has around 20 members.
"The camaraderie amongst the team, it's kind of like a fraternal bond these guys have," Investigator Connor Pennoyer, one of the team members, said. "Being on the team, you look at your mates next to you and you understand they have your back and that there's no question of that."
In addition to earning second place overall, the Stamford Special Response Team won first place in the tactical rescue challenge.  
"I know it sounds cheesy, but hard work pays off,” Sgt. John Derisme, another team member, said. "The guys were working hard for months leading up to this."
Baker said while the team is proud of the accomplishment, the lessons learned during the challenge are what's invaluable.
"What I've realized participating in the challenge, it provides some really good stress-induced training," he explained. "My teammates and I would hate to fail one another, and that pressure is very realistic in terms of making decisions in a real-world situation."
"To do well in a challenge, at the end of the day when we get that call out, we put our vest on, we grab our equipment, we're going to be ready to go," Derisme added. 
Other local SWAT teams that competed include Greenwich, Fairfield and Milford.


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