Third SWAT trainee sent to the hospital during training - KUAM.com-KUAM News: On Air. Online. On Demand.

Third SWAT trainee sent to the hospital during training

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 by Krystal Paco

Guam - With it being only four days into the training cycle, a third law enforcement officer with hopes of becoming a part of the island's most elite unit is rushed to the hospital.

Guam Police Department officers Lt. Mark Torre and Gregory Garcia are two of 17 trainees in the GPD Special Weapons And Tactics Academy Cycle 9 that started on Monday.

Torre said, "The experience has been incredible. The demands of course have been incredible but it's been what's expected from the getgo. Each and every one of us, prior to assuming this training, knew it was going to be tough. It was not going to be easy."

According to the trainees, Wednesday morning was a typical day of PT at Eagle's Field in Mangilao.

"It was pretty basic yesterday in terms of the types of workouts we were doing. Nothing new to anybody," said Torre.

The training however sent a fellow GPD officer to naval hospital where he remains in critical condition. As we reported yesterday, the 49-year-old officer has been with the force for the last 17 years.

Garcia said, "As soon as I completed my exercise, I got up and I noticed that someone was laying on the ground and that's when I noted something happened with a fellow trainee. I didn't think it was going to be that serious because it looked like they were just stretching out his legs. But again, I noted that it was serious after I had a visual."

Hours later a second GPD trainee would also be sent to the hospital for possible dehydration and a third trainee Thursday morning - this time a probation officer who is also being treated for possible dehydration.

As we reported on Wednesday, Chief of Police Fred Bordallo confirms an investigation has been launched.

Despite the investigation however, Police Commander Colonel Maurice Sayama says trainings will continue for the remaining seven weeks as planned. Ultimately, SWAT graduates are the most elite and most advanced in tactical exercises.

"It's training that's been doing many, many years in many cycles. With that said, I'm assured that the trainings are not detrimental or to put anyone in some harm. It's training to put them in the state of condition to respond to callouts that requires swat operators," he said.

As for the three separate incidents? Sayama says each person is different, but confirms all swat trainees met the physical requirements to enroll in the cycle.

"Everybody takes physical training a little bit different. Everybody's bodies are different. These folks have been instructed to hydrate whenever possible. At home, at trainings. They carry with them their liquids. It's a matter of what your body tells you," he said.

Prior to enrolling, each SWAT candidate was required to complete a physical fitness qualification test. The test includes running a mile in less than 8 minutes, 56 pushups and 43 sit ups in a minute each, and 6 pull ups.

That's in addition to getting clearance from a doctor indicating any medical conditions that may exist.

Lt. Governor Ray Tenorio is a former police officer and is familiar with the training required to be in the department's elite unit. "But we are paying close attention to it and we understand it's a highly rigorous kind of training and the physical demands are such that there is always a chance that there may be something that could happen we don't know if the medical conditions that have been experienced by the three individuals in the SWAT training are attributing to the training directly or not but we are concerned as we are always concerned with anyone but this is very rigorous training which demands close monitoring which we are doing and we're going to reassess it and make sure that everything is done in conformance with the safety of those undergoing the training," he said.

Tenorio says he and the governor are in contact with the chief of police on the situation and monitoring the situation.
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