St. Bernard Sheriff’s Office Special Operations Division SWAT Graduation

The St. Bernard Sheriff’s Office recently held a basic Special Weapons and Tactics school led by members of the Special Operations Division, Sheriff James Pohlmann said.

The school culminated in a graduating class of 11 deputies who underwent demanding training that consisted of physical fitness activities, firearms training and safety instruction, and classroom time. Deputies were put through various courses of fire that involved tactical maneuvers, critical decision-making while mimicking actual incidents, and tear gas training.

While everyone involved hopes these types of circumstances the deputies were trained for never have to be dealt with in St. Bernard, Sheriff Pohlmann said his department always trains for the possibilities.

“It’s a question of being prepared in advance for what could happen, while hoping it doesn’t happen,’’ the Sheriff said. “In today’s environment, it’s the preparation that’s the key.’’

Keeping his team abreast of the latest trends in training for these types of occurrences is crucial, the Sheriff said.

A ceremony was held for graduates on March 1 at Nunez Community College.

Graduates are: Lt. Jorge Vargas, Sgt. Dixie Dusang, Dep. Matthew Schmill, Dep. Jason Saltalmachia, Dep. Robert Smith, Dep. Corey Bordelon, Dep. Chris Manno, Dep. Christopher Battaglia, Dep. Jessica Edwards, Dep. Brandon Gaudet, and Dep. Jared Bazile. 

Dep. Manno was the top scorer in an individual shooting competition, and Sgt. Dusang and Dep. Edwards are St. Bernard’s first female officers to graduate SWAT school. 

SWAT training was implemented by Maj. Bobby Norton, Special Operations Division commander, and Capt. Stephen Ingargiola, director of training, along with assistance from Maj. Daniel Bostic, Lt. Chris Scheeler, Lt. Mike Ingargiola, Lt. Robert Mire, Sgt. David Culpepper, Sgt. Brian Canepa, retired Maj. David DiMaggio, retired Lt. Raymond Theriot, and retired Sgt. Dick Beebe.