OPS Tactical Unit first Canadians to participate in Dubai international SWAT competition

Posted On Wednesday March 04, 2020
Tactical team competed in Dubai in February
Tactical team competed in Dubai in February

The Ottawa Police Service (OPS) Tactical Unit is a group of specially-trained officers who respond to more than 100 high risk incidents each year. This could be anything from a warrant execution to a hostage situation.

To ensure they are fit in every way to deal with situations most of us would run from, tactical officers train every day.

In September, 2019, OPS Tactical Unit Sergeant Rob Wyers was asked to join an International panel of SWAT experts as the Canadian representative to review training procedures.

Impressed with his skills and knowledge, the OPS Tactical team was invited to the international SWAT competition in Dubai from February 9 – 13, 2020. This was the first time any Canadian team participated in the competition, which is by invitation only and paid for by Dubai Police.

The other teams had the advantage of longer prep time, but seven officers arrived from their 15-hour flight with one day to spare before competition began.

“We didn’t come first, but we gave it our best,” said Sgt. Tom McFadden, a 10 year veteran of the OPS Tactical unit. He was extremely proud of his teammates. “We persevered through illnesses and injuries during the five day competition, coming away with positive results.”

They earned the respect of the other teams for a strong performance with little preparation and left a lasting impression with their song choice for the obstacle course. “Other teams picked heavy metal music, but we wanted something truly Canadian.”

They chose none other than Good Ole Hockey Game by Stompin’ Tom Connors. 

“From everywhere, people were running out of their tents to see what was going on when they heard the music,” said Sgt. McFadden. “We quickly became fan favourites and we ran out of the swag we brought.”

The highlight for the team was the rappel/sniper event, where they placed 18th overall.

“It was a great opportunity to meet tactical officers from around the world, teams that are dealing with events we hear about in the news,” said Sgt. McFadden. “It’s nice to see our training and techniques follow global best practices and sharing information between organizations makes our work safe and our communities safer.”