SWAT school in session at San Antonio Police Department

SAN ANTONIO – The San Antonio Police Department's SWAT team are there at the most critical times and this week, SAPD officers and officers from different agencies are learning about responding to those critical scenes in SWAT school.

Officer Sergio Villanueva has been with the department for four years and is currently assigned to the SAPD Gang Unit.

But this week, he's learning what it takes to be on the department's SWAT team.

"You're given basic training, which is consistent with snipers, barricading a suspect, an active shooter," said Villanueva. "We do scenarios. We do a lot of shooting."

Officers have to pass a physical training test before they can even get into the school.

"These officers have the opportunity to attend basic SWAT school with our SWAT team to understand basic tools and to understand critical incidents," said Officer Yvonne Padilla, with the San Antonio Police Department. "So when they are out on patrol, they have that knowledge."

Training started on Wednesday -- Day 4 of SWAT school -- with a two-mile run. Then the group of 38 officers broke into three groups to compete against each other in a physically demanding obstacle course.

"It's intense," said Villanueva. "Everyday you (train physically), as you see. We've been running all morning. We do more advance training than what patrol is used to."

Padilla said the advanced training is necessary because officers never know what they're going to encounter.

"Our first responders may end up in a situation where they need that extra personnel," said Padilla. "They need those extra tools that SWAT can provide."

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