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TAYLORSVILLE -- Taylorsville residents heard yelling, barking and even explosions this afternoon. The police training exercise wasn't just loud, it was historic. It was the first training exercise for the very first female member of the Unified Police Department's SWAT team.
It was a typical day for about 40 men but a new beginning for their first female teammate. Every year SWAT teams prepare for potentially dangerous situations, practicing, among other things, explosive breach techniques.
Being a member of the team isn't easy; more than 20 people tried out to join the Unified Police Department's team this year, but only five were successful. Those five included the first woman to ever make it onto the department's SWAT team.
"It's a huge accomplishment for me," Officer Librada Chacon said.
Chacon always wanted to join the SWAT team. She tried five years ago without success. This time she made it.
"To be the first female for Unified Police Department's SWAT team, that right there is something I'll always have with me. It definitely was a grueling task to get here, but I'm happy to be here," she said.
SWAT leaders are happy to have her. They say she has the qualities they need.
Team leader Sgt. Jason Mudrock said, "Her ability to lead other operators was really, really evident to us. That's really one of the qualities we look for."
Now a member of the team, Chacon says she feels both excited and overwhelmed.
"The expectations are a little high right now. Especially for the fact that it's the first female, so you always want to be able to represent. It's overwhelming because I also want to set a paved road for other females to try out," she said.
SWAT leaders say regardless of gender, the duty remains to keep people safe.
We asked Chacon how her male teammates have treated her so far. She said it's been awesome.