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SWAT team sheds blood - literally
Big boys don't cry.

Okay, but members of the Ceres Police SWAT (Special Weapons and Tactics Team) may have winced a bit when they got "stuck" for a good cause Thursday. Part of their training day was spent donating blood at the Modesto Delta Blood Bank branch.

The donation had a dual purpose, said Sgt. Trenton Johnson.

"This is for a good cause, a community service project," said Johnson.

The visit also enabled officers to find out their blood type in case they ever need it. Delta will forward blood types to each donor within two weeks.

The team showed up at the Orangeburg Avenue center at noon in the armored SWAT truck, dressed in camouflage pants and guns strapped to their thighs. They waited as they received instruction and waded through the blood donor criteria. Only four of the 12 members were unable to give blood because of visits to certain countries or recent tattoo work. The others joked about who'd by crying when the needle hit or who'd call mama for moral support. Those getting poked accused those sitting things out as disqualifying on purpose.

At least one Delta employee arrived for work, relieved that the officers were only giving blood and not on hand for an emergency.

The rest of the training day was spent executing "officer down" drills at Ceres Fire Station 3.

"We try to do one training day per month," said Johnson. "Each training day is about 10 hours."

The SWAT team is typically called out once or twice a month for high-risk search warrants in which subjects are considered armed and dangerous. The team also responds to hostage and other critical incidences.

Officers volunteer for the team, said Johnson, but must undergo a selection process which includes a shooting and physical agility tests.