Harrisonburg Police Department Hosts Advanced S.W.A.T Training

HARRISONBURG, Va. -- The Harrisonburg Police Department has been busy hosting advanced S.W.A.T school this week.

Officers and deputies go through various scenarios, from handling an active shooter to bringing a person into custody.

16 officers and deputies went through training exercises to execute a search warrant for the RUSH drug task force.

"We send our squad guys in off an armored vehicle so they kind of up to the entry point to the front door," said Captain Tom Hoover.

The approach to the home has to be quick.

"The element of surprise is only good for 30 to 45 seconds. Once you lose that, the bad man would know that you're in here and he could try and protect himself. Grab a gun or something, which is a bad thing for us," said Captain Hoover.

The two teams handle different scenarios and they don't know if the role player, who is the person with the drugs, has a gun or not.

If there's a gun involved, officers and deputies approach the situation differently.

If all goes as planned, there's someone covering every room with back up.

One deputy from Page County, who has years of training on an Emergency Response Team, said advanced training is different.

"You take it up a level with the fire arms training that you get, the advanced entry tools that you use, flash bang deployment and things like that," said Sergeant Chris Stoneberger, with the Page County Sheriff's Office.

Another Harrisonburg Patrol officer who would like to be a part of the S.W.A.T. team said it's a way to advance skills.

"It's important to be at once part of the community, but also have more advanced training," said Geoffrey Bechtel, with HPD.

The training will prepare them for what's to come.

"So the more we can expose them to different scenarios then if it happens real in the field next week or next year, they will have done it and it won't be a first time exposure for them," said Captain Hoover.

The deputies and officers involved are from Page County, Harrisonburg, Lexington, Culpepper, among others.

They will be doing training on what to do in a scenario with an active shooter on Friday.

HPD hosts this event through the local Academy.

They also host basic S.W.A.T training.

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