When several hundred thousand people gather at or near Beaver Stadium, there’s no question it’s a target for terrorists. Those in law enforcement, at the highest levels know that and assign their top forces to protect people. That means SWAT. We got a special behind the scenes look at Centre County’s Tactical Response Team.
Every Penn State home football game has iconic moments. Sights and sounds we have grown to love. Tailgating. The Blue Band, athletes signing autographs and huge crowds.
And high above them all, part of Centre County’s Tactical Response Team is positioned on top of Beaver Stadium with sniper rifles.
The Centre County TRT was created after an incident near Beaver Stadium in 1994. The team of 12 trains about 18 times a year in advanced weapons and tactics, and they’re on call 24/7.
Officer Adam Salyards says they’ve found a key to success is slowing everything down. Faster isn’t always better. Every team member is trained as a sniper. That’s not typical.
It binds them together.
One they say people just don’t understand is that their mission is not to put down the bad guy. It’s to bring everyone home safe.
Capt Christian Fishel of State College Police who is a TRT Team Leader says “A lot of people around the country associate tactical teams with aggression. But in all actuality we spend a great amount of time on safety, preparation, planning and having options.”
Adam Salyards, team member from State College Police says, “Our goal is to have a peaceful resolution to every situation.”
A thread that binds them together is a dedication to service. Back at Penn State, game goers say they can’t thank them enough.
Dawn Kelly, mother of a Penn State football player says, “Its a scary world, so its nice to know there are so many people here protecting us behind the scenes we don’t see.”
Her daughter Sienna Kelly, who’s 12 years old, says “I think people don’t see how much they do for us, and I think they’re awesome!”
They have two team members from every police station in Centre County on the TRT, plus medics from Centre Life Link.
And there are multiple teams throughout our region that train together.