Pa. police officer ranked top ten in nationwide SWAT physical fitness challenge

NEWTOWN SQUARE, Pennsylvania (WPVI) -- "What better way to give back to where I live than protect where I live and serve and try and make it a better place," said Officer Chris Signore.

Signore, 29, has already served as a police officer for a whole decade. His passion started at an early age and led him to the Newtown Township Police Department in Delaware County, where he has been stationed for the last three years.

But Signore is not an ordinary patrolman. He is a use of force instructor, teaching fellow officers the art of Jiu-Jitsu as a means of apprehending suspects with less force. He frequently trains alongside other officers, veterans, and more at Onyx Combat Sports, a small business that opened earlier this year.

Signore is also a SWAT officer with the Central Delco Tactical Response Team.

"At any given time, if there's a really bad situation, we get notified and we respond to wherever that situation is," he said. "We formulate a good plan and try to execute that."

Such a dangerous job is paired with exhaustive training to equip each officer with the tools they need to succeed and survive. The National Tactical Officers Association offers a SWAT Physical Fitness Qualification test to increase mission readiness and decrease injuries and use of force.

For the first time, in April of 2021, they converted this test into a nationwide challenge for SWAT officers.

"It was a 800-meter sprint, followed by a 400-meter sprint with weights," said Signore. "Burpees, jump squats, and pull-ups. Most of this was done with a gas mask, no filter, full gear."

Despite the daunting test of skill, Signore was excited to take on the opportunity. He and other officers geared up on the track field at Neumann University. With limited air and only three minutes of breathing time in between challenges, it simulated a real-world experience on a SWAT team mission.

"Yeah, it's a torture session a little bit," he said.

But it was all worth it in the end. Signore was notified that he scored in the top 10 of nationwide participants in the Physical Fitness Qualification Challenge.

"I was not expecting it. I mean, you figure out how many police departments are in the United States," he said. "We're not looking for any type of recognition. We just want to make that difference in our community."

Signore hopes that others will be inspired to become police officers just like him.

"If we can get a couple extra guys come out and apply, you know, it can make a world of a difference in such a small community," he said.

To learn more about the Newtown Township Police Department, visit their website.

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