OGDEN, Utah (ABC4) – A few years ago, Jenna Robins was operating a daycare and had never picked up a gun in her life. Now, officer Robins is on the front lines of the most intense and dangerous critical situations in Weber County.
“The SWAT team is known as the elite,” Robins says in a documentary short produced by the Ogden Police Department. “They’re the ones you call when things go wrong, and I wanted to be part of that…I am Jenna and I am the first female operator on the Ogden Metro SWAT Team.”
Only 5-foot-6 and barely over 100 pounds, officer Robins doesn’t look the part of a special weapons and tactics officer, but what you can’t see is her toughness and her drive.
“I knew that I wanted to do SWAT before I even applied to be an officer. I was always told there was never a female officer on the team, the physical standards were way too hard,” she tells Behind The Badge. “‘A woman can’t do it. You’re not strong enough. You’ve got to put in a lot of work,’ and then I was like ‘No I can do it.’ I come in with the attitude that I can do it.”
After 18 months as a patrol officer and hundreds of hours on the shooting range and in the gym, the wife and mother of two endured the seven-day SWAT Team tryout known as “Hell Week.”
“Hell Week was absolutely brutal,” she says. “There is nothing that can ever prepare you for the mental exhaustion that comes with Hell Week…It was honestly the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do, but then I would think of my daughter at home and how I want to set a good example for her and she was almost my driving force to keep moving forward.”
With no special treatment because of her gender, she made it through and made the team. Now, she’s always a phone call away from the next hostage situation or barricaded suspect.
“I tell my kids all the time, like when we get a SWAT call out, they freak out and honestly, I feel safer being on a SWAT call out at a critical incident than I do working patrol at a critical incident just because we’re more equipped. We have better training. We have the better skills to handle those types of situations,” she says. “The SWAT Team is not there to go in and destroy things. We’re not there to bust doors and just shoot people. We are there to make it safer for everybody involved.”
Officer Robins tells Behind The Badge the most difficult thing she’s experienced is the death of her good friend officer Nathan Lyday and that she’s had some close calls herself, but she will keep doing this dangerous duty and hopes more women will follow in her footsteps.
“I’m a role model to a lot of women, but mostly my daughter,” officer Robins said. “I just love showing her like look, they said you can’t do it, but you can do it if you work for it.”
You might be asking: how does Jenna’s husband feel about her job? It’s fair to say he understands, because he’s an officer on the Ogden Metro SWAT Team as well.