CHARLESTON COUNTY, SC (WCBD) –The Charleston County Sheriff’s Office SWAT Team wasn’t the responding agency during last Thursday’s deadly shooting at Virigina’s on King, but they were still present, ready for action if needed.
The members of the CCSO SWAT Team have to stay on call almost 24/7.
SWAT stands for Special Weapons and Tactics, but for Sgt. Fletcher Ferguson and Lt. Michael Knox, it means more than that.
“I’m a huge believer in service. These unfortunate situations happen and someone has to be willing to step up,” said Ferguson.
The training to be on the team is physical, but also mental. Each situation to which the team is called is different.
It also can be dangerous. The SWAT Team’s goal is to have a peaceful outcome, but sometimes they have to shoot, fight or tase.
“If you go into a room, and if you go into a situation where there’s no other option but to shoot someone that is for you to make sure you’re following policy and procedure, to make sure you have a clear and articulable reason for why you’re doing that,” said Knox.
For some of the men, the mental training involves putting feat behind them.
“You certainly think about, when we’re going through a door, I have a family I think about,” said Ferguson.
“But, you have to have your mind going in so many different directions at once, thinking about so many things. If you can’t compartmentalize those things, you can’t think as quickly as you need to,” he said.
The men also consider the group a brotherhood. The team also has had many women members over the years since the team began in 1975.