KISSIMMEE, Fla. - The Osceola County SWAT team came in third in the United Arab Emirates SWAT challenge in Dubai last week, an event where SWAT teams all over the world compete.
The agency posted congratulations on Twitter last week when the team came in third.
We're so excited and proud of our Osceola County Sheriff's Office SWAT Team. Eight of our team members are currently in Dubai competing in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) SWAT Challenge. They're up against 59 other teams from all over the world. Good luck, guys, and safe travels! pic.twitter.com/8kEHVv48qE— Osceola Sheriff (@OsceolaSheriff) February 13, 2019
The SWAT team’s performance came with a $20,000 prize, which the deputies believed the sheriff said they could keep.
But sources told Channel 9’s Shannon Butler the team's good mood changed as soon as they landed back in Central Florida.
Expenses like hotel rooms and flights for the eight-member team were covered by the event, and the Sheriff’s Office gave each team member $1,600 to spend per diem.
Sources said the sheriff offered to pay them for their time in the UAE so that they could be covered by workman’s compensation if something happened.
Upon returning from the UAE, sources said the Sheriff’s Office is asking the SWAT members to pay back their spending money and use vacation hours for the competition.
Channel 9 received a Facebook post slamming the Sheriff's Office decision, stating, "He should be congratulating these boys instead of penalizing them."
The Sheriff's Office did not respond to requests for comment about the decision.
The Flagler County Sheriff's Office also sent their SWAT team to compete, placing 32nd. Officials there said they considered it training and paid deputies their regular time for the trip.
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