SWAT in Downtown Kennewick
Some of you may have heard several large explosions in downtown Kennewick today. SWAT Teams from across Washington State and Montana used several vacant Columbia Crive buildings for explosives entry training.
These guys are no nonsense and extremely specialized. This kind of hands-on, real world training is also not easy to find.
But thanks to the Port of Kennewick, who recently bought the land where the Chieftain Motel sits - and will soon be torn down - those nine buildings became the target spot for SWAT training today.
About 25 men trained for breach entries today, using explosive charges.
Cdr. Steve Arbuthnot from Federal Way says his guys got exactly what they were looking for.
"The property was perfect for this type of training... multiple doors and options to use charges on, and gain a lot of data in a short time," said Arbuthnot.
Finding actual buildings to practice breaching scenarios is difficult. So when the Port of Kennewick stepped in with the property at 305 Columbia Drive, it was a no-brainer.
Port of Kennewick Commission President Skip Novakovich was instrumental in getting this venture going.
"We were able to provide some buildings that were going to be torn down anyway and offer them to Regional SWAT to practice some demolition," said Novakovich.
Port staff worked with members of the Tri-City Regional SWAT Team to co-ordinate the field training sessions. This unique training opportunity gives officers real-world experience using explosive charges to breech doorways and gain access to buildings during hostage and other crisis situations.
Novakovich says many of the Tri-City SWAT members have encountered some real life experiences at the exact location where the training was held today.
"They were here on other ocassions under not such pleasant circumstances and so it's kind of an end of a story to them, and they're excited," said Novakovich.
The regional training also provides an opportunity for various departments to work together and share their experiences.
"It's also good for us as a team to train at because we get more data from the what we're doing this week, and then build our program. The guys are learning quickly and they're becoming proficient in a short time," said Arbuthnot.
The empty and dilapidated buildings are slated for demolition tomorrow.
The port is working to clear the property for future use and revitalization of the area.