Lessons of the law

Published 10:39 pm Thursday, January 22, 2009

Law enforcement officers participated in a dress rehearsal of sorts for an event they hope will never happen.

On Thursday, members of the Covington County Incident Response Team (IRT) concluded a two-day training exercise on downed officer and victim rescue.

Six law enforcement agencies including the Florala Police Department, Greenville Police Department, the Alabama Beverage Control Board and Alabama Probation and Parole participated in the event.

Officers practiced the extraction techniques Wednesday at the MacArthur Campus of Lurleen B. Wallace Community College.

“Sometimes we have situations of officers or victims who need to be extracted from a situation that it’s not safe for an ambulance to go into,” said Ray Dixon, IRT commander. “Where they just can’t pull up to the front door — like in a hostage situation. That’s why we practice these techniques.”

Officers ran in two car teams into a “situation” featuring fellow law officers firing blank shots and yelling and screaming. A red body mat was used to simulate a person. Officers were required to pick up the mats in as little time as possible.

“We taught this class to the Opp Police Department in March or April of 2005,” Dixon said. “It’s the same techniques that were used to rescue a woman from the Lunsford Trailer Court that May. Don’t think that our officers don’t need to know this information.

“They do. It’s just another tool in their toolbox they can use.”