Police take part in S.W.A.T. training

PARKERSBURG – The Parkersburg Police Department held a S.W.A.T. training school for officers from West Virginia and Ohio.

The training exercises took place this week from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., including a hostage scenario and bus and vehicle assault classes, police said.

Parkersburg police Sgt. Greg Collins said trainees and instructors put in 40-to-50 hours of work during the week. A total of 14 officers participated in the course, including a “team doctor” from Marietta Memorial Hospital.

Six departments and 14 officers attended, said Collins. Instructors of the class set up real-life situations and officers learned about S.W.A.T. calls.

Collins said the program has been in place since 1998.

Officers with the Belpre Police Department, Marietta Police Department, Washington County Sheriff’s Office, Ohio County Sheriff’s Office, Ritchie County Sheriff’s Office and Parkersburg Police Department participated.

On Thursday, officers learned about a hostage situation through a scenario set up using an abandoned building at Ninth and Ann streets. Officers entered the building and communicated with a mobile negotiations unit across the street.

The mobile unit simulated a phone call with the hostage taker and spoke with officers on the scene about what to do.

Sgt. Kevin Hornbeck with the Washington County Sheriff’s Office said he wanted to take the class to learn how to train and prepare in life-or-death situations.

“We want to enhance and protect,” Hornbeck said of the sheriff’s office negotiation skills.

Marietta Memorial Hospital Dr. J. Allen McElroy said he wanted to know how to train and prepare to keep officers in S.W.A.T. scenarios safe from harm. He said Washington County Sheriff Larry Mincks had the idea to bring a doctor onto the team several years ago to treat any injured officers.

Mincks said the doctor does not carry a firearm but has medical gear to help gunshot or other wounds received during the scenarios. The Washington County deputies have worked closely with Parkersburg officers, he said.

Mincks said his S.W.A.T. team is adding about five officers who were going through the training.