Meet ‘Tai,’ The FBI’s First Black Woman to Join the Bureau’s SWAT Team

"Tai" image: YouTube/FBI

The newly chosen agent will be undergoing a 10-week course that prepares selectees for field operations.

The FBI has brought on its first Black woman to be selected to train for the bureau’s SWAT teams. The newly chosen agent, who has only been identified as “Tai,” will be undergoing New Operator Training School (NOTS), a 10-week course that prepares selectees for SWAT field operations, the FBI said in a news release.

If Tai successfully passes NOTS, she will join the San Juan Division’s SWAT team as a probationary member. According to the FBI, she will undergo more training, in under two years, to become ingrained as an officially certified member of the bureau.

According to the release, Tai is not phased by the challenge of passing NOTS, saying, “I’m one of those people where I have a task at hand and I just focus on that task. I don’t really think about people looking at me.”

“Hopefully somebody will see that I was able to do it,” Tai added. “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 really tough—you push through it and keep going.”

Across the country, the FBI has 56 field offices, each with a SWAT team, which stands for “Special Weapons and Tactics”.

San Juan SWAT Senior Team Leader Mike Dubravetz “sees a lot of promise in Tai,” according to the release, adding, “There are no guarantees for success, but she’s been willing to tackle this.”

“I’m impressed with her performance. She wouldn’t have made it through the selection process if she didn’t demonstrate that she has what it takes to be successful.”

Tai, 32, has been working at the FBI’s field office since becoming an agent four years ago. Her focus was “corruption cases involving non-elected officials,” and would possibly change upon being certified as a SWAT agent. Tai is also a soldier in the US Army Reserve, who was inspired to join the FBI after seeing the bureau’s response to the 2016 mass shooting at Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Florida. The shooting at the popular LGBTQ+ venue was one of the deadliest events in US history, leaving 49 people dead and dozens injured.

“The amount of assets and the professional attitude of agents,” Tai said, remarking about the incident. “They were organized, and they got stuff done.”

Tai was a deputy with the Orange County Sheriff’s Office in Orlando for five years. Focused on doing what’s best for her community both in Florida and Puerto Rico, Tai said, “I like to help. Even on patrol, I’d always say that jail isn’t always the answer.”“Sometimes someone just needs to be listened to or things can be worked out. That’s just part of listening and trying to help the community that I was serving.”

Later this year, Tai will return to NOTS with a new set of selectees to complete her training.

“I’m definitely thankful for all the Black women before me in the FBI,” she said. “Because if it didn’t start with that one, who knows how many there would be today, if any. I’m definitely grateful for all of them before me.”

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