Janesville SWAT stays sharp through firearm training


To make it onto a police SWAT team requires hours and hours of training. Janesville Police held an exercise to ensure their squad, if necessary, can take the shot against a suspect.

SWAT leaders say their operators need to meet high standards to be part of the Janesville unit, adding it’s all to be able to readily respond to whatever calls they receive.

Every year, the unit puts their members through two firearm qualification training to make sure they can perform at certain measures.

“I’d like to think a position in our SWAT team is no gimme,” said Officer Justin Stubbendick. “We hold ourselves to a high standard because we know the public expects us to perform when asked.”

Stubbendick led the training exercise and says it’s important for the unit to practice shooting at different ranges and positions.

“We need to know that our guys can go out, first thing, cold,” said Stubbendick. “[We need to know they can] come up on seven yards and make a hostage like shot if they need to or a very precision shot at 50 yards if we need to.”

Janesville SWAT operators trained for eight hours. Leaders say a big part of this training is to go into night hours to make sure the team is fully skilled with night-vision equipment.

“We also want to make sure that whatever our guys can do during daytime hours with their daytime optics and equipment, they can do at nighttime with their night equipment,” explained Stubbendick. “We want to make sure that level of proficiency is the same.”

SWAT Commander Sergeant Mark Ratzlaff says leadership is another requirement to earn swat qualification.

“That’s kind of our expectation from our people,” said Ratzlaff . “When you get to these things, don’t sit there and wait for an assignment, start working towards resolving this.”

With mud and water covering the range, team members fought through the conditions to train. Ratzlaff says it’s all part of staying prepared.

“To know ‘hey I know what I need to sustain myself in this environment’ or when ‘I know I’ve become ineffective and I need to let someone know so I can get somebody to relieve me’.”

Janesville SWAT says apart from the two firearm qualification trainings, they also do monthly scenario drills.

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