Breaking Down Stereotypes: NYPD’s First Female Counter Sniper

Wait, New York and pro-gun in the same story? Most of the stories out of New York are anti-gun, but this one is a little different. In this case, New York not only went pro-gun, it went pro-woman with a gun. Tina Guerrero recently became the first woman counter sniper in the New York Police Department’s history.

Tina Guerrero NYPD's first female counter sniperSimilar to what most departments would call a SWAT team, the NYPD has an Emergency Service Unit (ESU). The ESU handles a wide range of scenarios, including hostage scenarios, barricaded suspects, suicidal jumpers, rescues, and even assists with presidential security. New York is no small place of course, and the ESU is manned—make that staffed—by approximately 500 officers. Included in the ESU’s duties are specialists trained in counter-sniping. Although the ESU currently averages about 10 women on the team, Detective Tina Guerrero recently reset the bar when she qualified as the ESU’s first female counter-sniper.

While this is certainly newsworthy in its own right, for readers of The Defender Blog it has even more significance. Women can handle long guns as well as men. While many attempts have been made to place a finger on the scale in an attempt to equalize opportunities, there are differences between the sexes, but that does not mean women cannot and should not compete or perform the same jobs as men—if they can pass the same muster.

At 5-foot, 1-inch, this mother of three has redefined the woman’s place, namely behind an M24 Remington 700. On the range for recent media interviews, Guerrero demonstrated her skills by putting rounds in a 1-inch square at 100 yards. That is not an impossible feat for many shooters I know, not by any stretch of the description. It simply allows us an opportunity to look at sniping and counter-sniping from a different perspective that demonstrates the sex of the shooter is irrelevant. Accuracy in a clutch situation is the primary factor in the sniping world.

“In the beginning, I really was a little intimidated by it,” Guerrero said. “I’d never really shot a precision rifle before. And hearing the term ‘counter-sniper’—you’re looked at a little bit of a higher level…”

Tina Guerrero NYPD's first female counter sniperGuerrero is not the first woman to qualify for the ESU. In fact, the ESU broke the female stereotype long ago. It is important to note, Guerrero was not offered any special considerations because she is a woman though. She is responsible to carry her own mission specific gear while wearing a 50-pound tactical vest, be the first officer through a door on a tactical breach or search warrant, or scale the Brooklyn Bridge to rescue a suicidal jumper, the same as any other officer in the unit. So, after proving she could handle a precision rifle with equal accuracy, Guerrero broke yet another stereotype and earned the counter-sniper designation.

By stereotype, we are not referencing Guerrero’s fellow officers.

“It’s like a big boy’s playground, and I wanted to play in it. I was welcomed with open arms. I’ve always been treated with the utmost respect. There’s always someone willing to teach you something, always somebody there to answer questions for you. As long as you’re willing to do the job here and go out there and work, you aren’t going to have any problems.”

Guerrero told Fox5 News she is sharing her story with the hope of inspiring other women to come into this special unit to see just how much they can become and contribute.

Watch Fox5’s video:

What do you think about NYC’s first woman counter sniper? Share your thoughts with us in the comment section.

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