SWAT Team Trains for Disaster

SWAT Team Trains for Disaster

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Keith McCord ReportingRecovering from a disaster, such as the hurricane, takes a lot of advance planning and preparation. Today the Salt Lake City Police Department prepared for a different kind of challenge-- not weather related, but crime related.

We saw this a lot before the Olympics came here, various law enforcement agencies conducting mock disaster drills, or terrorist attack drills. Today's situation started next to a bunch of oil storage tanks.

The call came in shortly after 10 a.m, officers converge on a small white car with a woman inside.

Lt. Jim Coleman, Exercise Coordinator: "'We have a suspicious vehicle at a petroleum processing facility in the northwest section of the city."

In this scenario, the woman has explosives strapped to her body, more are in the car, and she's been told not to talk, because the bad guys are holding her family hostage. As officers deal with the scene, fellow officers in orange vests and clipboards take notes and monitor how their colleagues handle the task.

Lt. Jim Coleman, Exercise Coordinator: "That's the thing about the exercise, we try to take them out of their comfort zone; we want them to be successful, but want them to experience things that they don't normally experience."

This drill is loosely based on a real-life event. These officers learn that the woman's family is being held hostage in a concrete building in another part of town. One of the entrances is booby-trapped with two grenades. Two dozen members of the SWAT team converge on the building, some climb a ladder to get inside, while others keep their weapons pointed at other entrances.

Robin Snyder, PIO, Salt Lake City Police Dept.: "About 75 officers are involved, and we're going to be doing this once a year now. One huge exercise a year, and then we'll be doing small table-top exercises during the year also."

"We got a guy down, we got a guy down."

A SWAT team member is wounded. Fellow members come to his aide using an armored vehicle as a shield. They protect him and make sure he gets to a waiting ambulance.

The guys who organize these drills change the game plan as the drill progresses so no one knows what they're getting into. After today's drill, everyone gets together and reviews what went right and what didn't go so well. It's all about staying sharp!

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