SONS OF GOD – Monday April 8 2013

– The Special Operations Group is Victoria Police’s last line of defence.
“They are the last port of call,” Superintendent Ross Guenther said. “If they can’t deal with the situation, we need to call in the firepower of the Army.”
SOG officers deal with the state’s worst – terrorists, gunmen, hostage sieges, high-risk arrests – and undertake heart-stopping covert surveillance.
It’s a gruelling battle to be recruited into the crack unit, formed in 1977, and, when they get in, recruits are trained for every scenario imaginable.
The Herald Sun joined the SOG, sometimes dubbed Sons of God, on a counter-terrorism roping course for a rare insight into the squad.
It is a world-class program, run by Victoria Police, for the elite of the elite.
Police officers from similar tactical units in Canada, the Netherlands, Hong Kong and Singapore joined Victoria’s SOG on the three-week course, which also included members of the Australian Defence Force, Melbourne Fire Brigade and Australian Federal Police.
Week one was spent climbing rural rock faces at Mount Arapiles; Week two scaling city buildings and structures, including abseiling down the Rialto Tower and MCG scoreboard; and the third week covered air assaults, culminating in an impressive storming of the Queenscliff ferry.
SOG officers, who wear a distinctive black uniform and carry almost 30kg of equipment, are on call 24/7.
And they do not leave a job until it is completed.
SOG members have been recruited from diverse careers, including financial advisers and business analysts.
The group is made up of hobbie triathletes, ultra-marathon runners and ironman competitors – but fitness levels count for nothing if they can’t back it up with the mental agility required at the end of an equally draining shift.
In one mock exercise akin to a Hollywood action blockbuster, a police sniper takes aim at a ferry taken over by terrorists.
A second helicopter swoops in and hovers just metres from the boat’s deck as several SOG members fast-rope down and an RHIB boat speeds alongside allowing several more to climb up the ferry’s side – Jon Kaila


About Jumpin' Jack Cash

Deep connections are the most important aspect of my existence. I don’t care if people don’t know what they want. I love books. I’m cynical of love stories, although I’m romantic. I adore gardens. I like women who challenge me. I love the rain as an excuse to stay inside and dream. I'm furiously impatient. If I ask you a question best to tell me the truth as I'm likely to already know the answer. I'm a carnivore. I continuously underestimate the magic of fresh flowers in my home. I love warm rain in the summer. My mood elevates to epic proportions when the sun shines. Tell me not to do something and I'll do it twice and take photos. Running is my antidepressant. I loathe lies. I rarely forgive a lie. Loyalty and honesty are my most noble virtues, and I value them more than anything in other people. I love to love, and am able to fall in love very quickly, although it's only ever happened once. I understood myself and fixed myself only after destroying myself. My greatest excitement comes from deliberately getting lost in foreign cities. I can be extremely loud and frighteningly silent. I hate insinuations. I love storms. Justice for all. I'm a proud man, but welcome the influence of the feminine soul. I have two sisters. I’m a dreamer. I’m a deep thinker. Don’t deal with guilt trips or drama that well. I'm extremely stubborn and persistent. I'm brilliant at keeping secrets. I love driving. I become absolutely and completely lost while watching a burning fire. When the toast pops from the toaster I’m never ready and shit myself. I play the guitar, but require much improvement. Solitude and warmth of the sun are perfect together. I’ve been married once and now divorced. I’m a music junkie. Chocolate mousse is the shit. I curse too much. I find it difficult to make friends. I spent four years as a firefighter. I’ve run my own company since 1991. Bright lights, big cities. I’ve been an executive producer of a feature film. Some people don’t care, and that’s the biggest let-down of the human race. There are cures and solutions for many evils, but no remedy for the worst of them all - the apathy of human beings. The sound of the Italian language being spoken is as good as my favourite music. I hate corrupt cops. I relentlessly and passionately pursue anybody and anything that sets my soul on fire. I'm a dog lover, and all my dogs are considered family members. I have an obsession with photography. I have some close friends who are household names, but shall always remain anonymous. I’m crazy but not lazy. Losing a soulmate has hurt me badly. My two young sons are the nucleus of my universe. I love airports. I love freedom. If you are dishonest or disloyal, I can erase you from my life and memory immediately and permanently. I yearn to explore, dream about and discover as many friendships, deep connections and places, one possibly can in a lifetime.
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