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Grandview's SIRT team competes at Hanford course

GRANDVIEW - Officers from the Grandview Police Department's Special Incident Response Team (SIRT) recently traveled to Hanford to compete against other police teams from across the state.

The competition was sponsored by the Washington State Tactical Officers Association and took place over the course of three days at the Hanford and Richland firearm ranges and training facilities.

Grandview's SIRT team is not to be confused with a SWAT team, as they do not use special weapons and tactics, according to Officer Mitch Fairchild.

He said that a number of the teams that competed were specially designated SWAT teams.

While there, Fairchild said, "We competed in six (overall) events, several of which were sniper initiated. Our team sniper (Sgt. Mike Hopp) did a phenomenal job of carrying the team."

Fairchild said Hopp's closest shot was 200 yards. In that case, he had to hit a four inch clay pigeon.

In the sniper shoot, Hopp finished fourth, within two points of the officer who placed second.

Grandview began sending officers to SIRT training in 2002 and since then has tried to send two new officers each year. According to Hopp, the team is designed to "handle extremely out of the ordinary, dangerous situations."

The competition had several different components, including hostage rescue, a school bus assault and a citizen down rescue.

Overall, Grandview finished 10th out of 14 teams.

Officers also participated in seminars during the three-day event, with topics such as transitioning from fighting with weapons to hand-to-hand combat.

Hopp and Fairchild said that the competition was a good experience and an opportunity to learn new tactics.

Fairchild said that the training also included running and shooting when tired and short of breath, which showed him what it's like to function in a stress induced environment.

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