GRANITE CITY, Ill. (KSDK) - They face the most dangerous and violent situations and they need to be ready for anything including tense standoffs, hostage rescues, and the unpredictable. They are the Special Weapons and Tactics Squad, or as most people know them, the SWAT team.

When the team is activated, you may not expect to see a woman. Lizzi Varga, 31, is the only female SWAT team operator in the Metro East, and she's a Granite City police officer.

"It gives me a purpose. It gives me something to do that I feel like I am giving to people, I'm helping people. SWAT team, same thing but on a bigger scale," said Varga.

She started training with the SWAT team about five years ago.

"I would just show up on my own time just because I wanted it so bad," said Varga.

The investment paid off. She got the opportunity to try out and passed the test on her first try.

"A lot of people ridiculed me when I decided I was going to be a police officer. Same thing with the SWAT team. There were people who ridiculed me or that. There were people who told me flat out you can't do it, but I just pushed through and I did it," said Varga.