Hostage situation training nets valuable lessons for law enforcement, volunteers
An officer stands at the ready
The robot used to grab the simulated pipe bomb
One of two snipers during the simulation
Officers whisk one of the hostages to safety
SELLERSBURG, IN (WAVE)- Hostages held in an Ivy Tech classroom with an armed gunman as dozens of officers handle the situation. It was not a real incident, but it was a simulation involving the Clark County Sheriff's Office and dozens of volunteers. The location was Ivy Tech's Phau Hall. The simulated scenario inside was of 14-16 officers and 25 students in the school. There was a gunman holding hostages inside one of the classrooms as part of the training.
"We want to make this as real as possible for them," said Major Chuck Adams with the Clark County Sheriff's Office.
It was a real scenario on the same day as a deadly shooting at a salon in Wisconsin.
"We're trying to train our SWAT team for situations similar to that," Adams said.
Sunday afternoon, a gunman planted at least 1 pipe bomb inside a classroom. During the training, some students got themselves out while others were being held hostage. The hostage simulation was part of the CCSO's annual special operations unit team training.
Adams said "Hopefully, we'll never have to use this in real life. But if, God forbid, we do, we'll be ready as we can be."
Donald Yaste, a University of Louisville student, is one of the student volunteers.
"It's kind of nerve-wracking, I guess," Yaste said. "That you don't know exactly what's going on and you're just kind of in the back trying to get out and everything."
The Sheriff's office used a military resource surplus robot worth at least $60,000 to carefully remove the simulated pipe bomb. It was being controlled several hundred yards away. After carefully maneuvering the machine, they finally got it.
If the simulation were real, after the bomb was retrieved by the robot, it would then be taken outside where a bomb squad would be waiting to detonate the bomb.
Almost everything being used comes from a military law enforcement program. Watching with precision from outside Pfau Hall, the snipers eliminated their target with a shot to the head. Director of campus security, Dr. Mary Springer, pointed to similar situations.
"Multiple bomb threats even just in the last couple weeks at other colleges and universities," Springer said. "We just really need to be able to respond appropriately."
Springer said she wanted students to know
"One, I hope they realize that we do take their safety and security seriously." she said. "We make a serious and significant investment with time, energy and resources for our students and for our entire campus."
Important lessons and skills were acquired by law enforcement and volunteers, Sunday.
"To always be prepared for anything," Yaste said. "You never know what could happen."
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