Local sniper praises Navy SEAL shooters

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SALT LAKE CITY -- As the defeat of the Somali pirates shows, professional police and military snipers are a special breed. They're trained to precisely take someone down in a blink of an eye, but only under command, when absolutely necessary, and under strict protocols.

Deputy Jason Ackerman is a trained sniper for the Salt Lake County Sheriff's Office SWAT team. While using his name, like others in this specialized league he prefers not to identify his full face.

Ackerman is not surprised what Navy SEAL shooters did in taking out three pirates with three bullets through a small window in the canopy of a lifeboat.

"With the level of training they're at, and the level of their experience, [they're] very capable of doing this, and they did a remarkable job," he said.

These precision shooters are highly disciplined. There's no room for error. Focus, precision, attention to the smallest of details and an almost unending patience is all part of the training.

Salt Lake County Sheriff's Office Range Master Nick Roberts says even breathing is an art. "Control. The breathing. There is a set timing with it, with the muscle contraction on the finger," he said.

"[It's] absolutely sobering and humbling that there is that many people that are relying on you to come through and protect them and keep them safe. It's very sobering," Ackerman said.

Training involves more than continually polishing skills with a weapon. Those who reach this point have to be fine tuned, very fine tuned, psychologically as well.

"Being able to know how your body is going to react and how your mind is reacting, and take charge. And able to focus on the task at hand and the responsibility that you hold," Ackerman said.

For Ackerman, no question! Navy snipers did what they had to do to save a life.

E-mail: eyeats@ksl.com

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