ALBANY, GA (WALB) - Training to face terrorists is something even South Georgia law enforcement have to do.
The SWAT team in Albany recently wrapped up a week of special training, preparing to face terrorism. Around the world, terrorists, both foreign and domestic, have attacked schools and students. The Albany Dougherty SWAT went to a real school, with real students, for the most realistic training.
Albany Dougherty metro SWAT team members rush to a report of an active shooter inside a school. A police officer shouts "Put you weapon down! Got a clear shot. Suspect down."
It's just an exercise. As realistic a training as consultants can bring in. "Show them some of the latest techniques and tactics that are going on around the country and internationally," said First Line Security And Training Co- Founder Chris Owens.
After each exercise, team coordination. As you are looking around, before you go into that room and engage, make sure that you have 360 degree coverage. Students from Darton State's Criminal Justice Club portray students and hostages. Crystal Marie Smith hopes to be a law enforcement officer one day. "Just to know that they are practicing for the inevitable. I mean, now we know our community will be safe," Smith says.
The SWAT officers don't suit up with armor, because experience shows they have to engage the shooter as quickly as possible. "It's an evolving beast. It's something we have to stay on top of the game," SWAT Team Commander Captain Tim Hanington said.
This time lights out, and an officer shot. "Man down. Man down!" shouts the training officer. "Move up, move up. Hands, hands. Let me see your hands."
These officers have to prepare to face terrorists, who might also be trained with a planned attack. "See they have to think about that, because we have domestic terrorism. There are so many peoples who are in our communities that we don't know about. That we learn about later on," Owens says.
Training to be ready, because if it happens for real, lives will be on the line.
"The men that are taking up this position on SWAT are taking it very seriously. Want to make sure they provide their citizens with the utmost protection," Hanington said.
This is the third year in a row the Albany Dougherty SWAT team has brought in consultants for a full week of advanced training.
They were joined by SWAT teams from Tift County, The Marine Base Police, and other SWAT teams from as far as South Carolina.