NYPD Has Its First Female Counter-Sniper

Det. Tina Guerrero at the range with her M24 sniper rifle.
Det. Tina Guerrero at the range with her M24 sniper rifle.photo from fox5ny.com

Det. Tina Guerrero is a mother, a wife, and now New York Police Department counter-sniper dedicated to keeping the city safe, according to this story from fox5ny.com, who got a one-on-one interview with the department's only female counter-sniper at a police base in Queens.

Guerrero is part of the department’s Emergency Service Unit, one of the most high risk jobs on the force.

"Being the lead bunker on a search warrant—the first one being able to go through the door—to me is just exciting," she said in the story. "You don't know what that unknown is, and what's going to happen."

Guerrero became a police officer not long after she gave birth of her first child at age 24. She started working undercover in Vice, but always wanted to move up to the ESU, which handles everything from hostage situations to people pinned in vehicles and presidential details, the story says.

Standing at 5’ 1”, she was determined not to let her size, or her gender, get in the way, despite the 50 pounds or more of gear she has to wear on the regular.

"It's like a big boy's playground, and I wanted to play in it. I was welcomed with open arms," Guerrero said in the story. "I've always been treated with the utmost respect."

Det. Tina Guerrero.
Det. Tina Guerrero is a mother of three and has been an officer with the NYPD since the age of 24.photo from fox5ny.comhoto

A counter-sniper is specifically trained to engage a hostile suspect, who is also armed with a long-range firearm of some kind. They use triangulation to locate a sniper, if hidden, and provide officers on the ground with advice on tactical positioning and movement. And, of course, a counter-sniper’s main job is to eliminate the suspect using a long-range rifle.

All members of the ESU have to keep their shooting skills sharp at all times, and that means training at the Rodman’s Neck firing range.

"In the beginning, I really was a little intimidated by it," she 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, and it's a big responsibility."

Guerrero said in the story she's never had to use her rifle (an M24 Sniper System, which is the military and police version of the Remington 700 rifle) or sidearm, for that matter, in the field—but that she's always prepared to do so.

The reporter asked her how she "goes from cleaning a high-powered rifle to making school lunches."

"You just try to leave that there, and go home and just take this hat off and go home and put my other hat on that says 'mom' and leave it at that," she said.

She said support at home from her husband, Det. Lenin Guerrero, who is an ESU officer with a different command, helps a lot, along with the support of her fellow officers in her unit.

"There's always someone willing to teach you something, always somebody there to answer questions for you," Guerrero said. "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."

There’s absolutely no doubt women make fantastic shooters and deadly snipers.

A colorized photo of Soviet sniper Lyudmila Pavlichenko
A colorized photo of Soviet sniper Lyudmila Pavlichenko, who was nicknamed Lady Death. Here she poses with her Tokarev SVT-40 sniper rifle.photo from dailymail.uk

During World War II, Soviet Lyudmila Pavlichenko became one of the best snipers in history with a credited 309 confirmed kills, 36 of which were German snipers. As a youth, she participated in a paramilitary sporting organization that taught youths firearms skills and etiquette.

"I set out to show that a girld could do as well. So I practiced a lot," she once said. She was urged to work as a nurse when she attempted to join the Red Army and had to have a rather brutal "audition" during which she was given a rifle and told two Romanian soldiers downrange were working with the Germans, according to this story from businessinsider.com.

She shot and killed both soldiers, and was then accepted into the Red Army’s 25 Chapayev Rifle Division. Pavlichenko soon distinguished herself as a fearsome sniper, killing 187 Germans in her first 75 days of the war with a .30 caliber Mosin Nagant rifle.

Pavlichenko eventually became a sniper instructor and was even invited to the White House, where she derided the American press for asking foolish and sexist questions about whether or not she wore makeup into battle and what kind of underwear she wore beneath her uniform.

Soviet sniper Roza Shanina
Soviet sniper Roza Shanina amassed 59 kills in 1945 before her life was taken by a German artillery shell. Her diary was published in the 1960s, reigniting public interest in her story. Here she poses with her field glasses and her Mosin Nagant rifle.photo from dailymail.uk

"I wear my uniform with honor. It has the Order of Lenin on it. It has been covered with blood in battle. It is plain to see that with American women what is important is whether they wear silk underwear under their uniforms. What the uniform stands for, they have yet to learn," she told Time Magazine in 1942.

Pavlichenko was one of 2,000 female snipers in the Red Army during the war and one of 500 who survived its end. Several others amassed remarkable records during the war, like 19-year-old sniper Roza Shanina, who amassed 59 kills in 1945 before she was killed by a German artillery shell. She had petitioned Stalin directly to allow her to join the army so she might avenge her late husband, killed by German troops. Her diary was later published in the 1960s to great public acclaim.