High-Risk Tactical Training Bolsters Sarpy’s Law Enforcement

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OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) – On an otherwise clear and calm October night in Sarpy County, the streets were closed, emergency crews were on the ground and in the air, and hostage negotiators worked late into the night. in the night.

It was all just an exercise.

The Sarpy County Sheriff’s Office, along with Papillion Police, La Vista Police, Papillion Fire Department, and county medical and communications units, came together for an eight-hour evening training session. hours to build a cohesive emergency response team.

WOWT was invited to go behind the scenes to better understand the training and preparation required.

“Any players actively involved in the drill have very few clues as to what’s going to happen,” Papillion Police Chief Chris Witted said. “It’s by design.”

“Once they get here, they have to adapt, they have to overcome the situation, use their training and their abilities, and go from there,” said Lt. Chris Teuscher of the Sarpy County Sheriff’s Office.

For those taking part in the drill, there are no live bullets, but the pressure is real and the action intense. More than 70 personnel across the county are called into action when the exercise is underway.

“You have tactical negotiations, you have Tac-Meds, which is tactical medicine,” Whitted said. “You have your SWAT team, you have your drone team, you have dispatch and you have a command post.”

In this exercise, an officer is shot and requires vital transport. A medical helicopter flies nearby and teams must transfer the wounded to safety.

At another location, the possibility of barricaded suspects, hostages, and even an unknown weapons cache, requiring a full response, including surveillance and intelligence gathering, drones in the sky, negotiation crews , etc., trying to learn what they can, adjust to the scenario as it unfolds, as they would in a real situation. In this case, the lessons learned are beneficial.

“You can really challenge all of these disciplines, put them together and see how they come together and intertwine and achieve the symbiotic relationship that you want,” Whitted said.

They even held a mock press conference to test an information officer’s responses in critically exchanging information with the media, a necessary means of keeping the public safe and informed.

Law enforcement training typically requires one-on-one travel which is expensive off the job, yet necessary to stay alert and trained in the latest equipment and tactics. But it doesn’t create or test critical synergy like these exercises can, which also saves departments money by pooling resources.

“We do it twice a year, and each unit trains year-round on their own,” Teuscher said. “But when we come together, we make sure that our effectiveness… and our cohesion (exist), which is very important when it comes to a high-risk incident.”

This particular mandate-to-resolution training event took about eight hours, not to mention months of planning. The time spent on teamwork that the Sarpy County Sheriff’s Office hopes will keep the community safe, if and when the time comes for a unified response.

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