APD SWAT Pays Tribute to 9/11 First Responders

APD performs 343 exercises in honor of 343 fallen first responders

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Arlington SWAT spent the day sweating and feeling the burn to honor the first responders who gave their lives on September 11th. (Published Tuesday, Sep 11, 2012)

    At the 8:59 a.m., the exact time the first of the Twin Towers in New York City fell on Sept. 11, the Arlington Police Department's SWAT team paid tribute to the fallen first responders.

    Throughout the APD Training Center parking lot, exercise weights, dumbbells, cones, medicine balls, sledge hammers and massive truck tires were arranged in a variety of drills.

    "There were 343 total officers and public servants who were killed in the line of duty. The workout itself encompasses 343 total movements," SWAT team officer Brook Rollins said.

    Officers engaged in the drills to honor the police officers and firefighters who gave their lives on Sept. 11.

    SWAT officer Charles Crawford said they honored "the effort that those guys made that day; not only what they paid in terms of their lives that day, but the job that they did -- even if the towers hadn't fallen -- to carry the equipment and do what they did."

    Officers performed 100 step-ups, stepping up onto a two-foot-high platform that simulated steps taken by first responders climbing the towers. They also performed a 100-yard equipment carry, simulating the equipment first responders carried and how far they carried it.

    It was followed by a 100-yard bear crawl, as done when getting low and avoiding fire. Finally, officers swung a sledgehammer 43 times into a massive tire, replicating a forced entry into a doorway.

    "It's nice to say we try to put ourselves in their shoes and try to do what they did, but there's no way we could ever truly experience what they did that day," SWAT officer Bryan Graham said.

    Graham knows what it is to nearly give his life -- he was shot in the head on the job three months ago. But the sacrifices on 9/11 stand alone, he said.

    "I had a close experience," Graham said. "There's no way I could experience what these guys did 11 years ago and, hopefully, no one has to experience what I did three months ago."

    "They were our brothers, and it's out of respect we do this," Crawford said. "We not only stand by their families who are here, but them, their coworkers, their teammates, to show that it matters to us. we care about what they did and the sacrifices they paid."

    "Police officers and firefighters are out there protecting the public 24 hours a day, seven days a week," Rollins. "We come whenever we're called, regardless of the outcome. We do that even when we know we're in danger. We just hope that the public remembers that."