Agent Tai, First Black Woman Joining the SWAT Team

Tai, who works as a special agent in the Bureau's San Juan office is considered to be the first black female to join an FBI SWAT team.

The Woman Post | Catalina Mejía Pizano

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Most of us are familiar with the fact that SWAT stands for Special Weapons and Tactics team and that this unit has received specialized training to provide a fast response to terrorism threats, active shooting scenes, barricades persons, high-risk search warrants, and crowd control during disturbances among others. What lays behind the scenes is that SWAT members are chosen for their outstanding discipline, and their excellent physical and mental fitness. They train rigorously to develop counter-terrorism capabilities and to respond efficiently to urban high-risk situations.

As a special Agent in the Puerto Rico Office and the first female to be selected for SWAT team training, Tai has to attend New Operator Training School (NOTS), which consists of a 10-week proving ground that trains the selected members in SWAT combat and tactic. Once she completes the mentioned training, she will begin as a probationary member of the San Juan Division’s team, which is one of the busiest in the country. As mentioned by the FBI, during 6 to 18 months, she will receive further training to become officially certified.

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When she was a soldier in the US Army Reserve, she started to dream of joining the FBI after witnessing the bureau’s response to the 2016 mass shooting at Pulse nightclub which is an LGBT venue in Orlando, Florida. In this episode, she was highly impressed by the professional attitude of the agents involved, and by their impeccable organization. The mentioned shooting has been of the most severe mass shootings in US history, leaving 49 people dead and many injured. Tai is now 32, and from the moment she became an agent at the FBI, four years ago, she has been at the field office in Puerto Rico, focused on corruption cases involving non-elected officials.

Tai is now under the pressure to become the first Black woman on a SWAT team, which is why she is staying focused on completing NOTS. It is worth highlighting that the New Operator Training is designed to ameliorate an agent’s critical thinking, body movement, and firearm skills. In a recent interview, Tai mentioned "Hopefully somebody will see that I was able to do it, I'm, not the biggest person. I’m not as strong as some of these guys. But as long as you have perseverance- because it does get tough- you push it through and keep it going."

The aspiring SWAT team member, was also emphatic in that she likes to help people and to listen to them since she considers that part of her job is to listen to people and to try to help the community. She also mentioned how she is thankful for all the black women that made part of the FBI before herm because they helped to open the road for her success. Tai is a new role model and inspiration for all of the coming generation of females who dream of making part of the SWAT team!

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