IRT participates in scenarios

Published 12:00 am Friday, November 21, 2014

1121-IRT-Training-webIt has been more than a year since the Covington County Incident Response Team was dispatched to a scene, but members continue to train to stay abreast of the latest tactics.

The IRT, which serves as the county’s SWAT team, held one of two monthly training sessions on Thursday at the Wilbur Williams Law Enforcement Training Center.

“We have two training days and one of the days of the month we do a mock-type-scenarios,” IRT Cmdr. Kevin Chance said. “It may be from search warrants to a hostage-type situation. Usually we have someone to set this scenario up like a team leader. On other training days, we will go to the firing range and work on shooting and moving.”

The IRT leaders participated in a simulated scenario where a prison escapee stole a prison system vehicle, fled to a residence and the IRT needed to execute a search warrant.

“We went in to surprise and take the man into custody,” Chance said. “One of the things we have to look at is whether he presents a hostage. The IRT has to take that into consideration.”

Members of the Opp and Andalusia police departments and sheriff’s office trained on the scene without a hostage negotiator, and Chance said that gives the IRT experience handling situations without a negotiator.

The team was in full gear, surrounded the training facility house, and practiced working as a team to locate subjects, negotiate with them and check for possible hostages.

“They train for real situations like this,” Chance said. “That’s the reason they get called out to these cases.”

Chance said he and the other IRT leaders would work through the scenario and go back through the house with the team to work on any corrections.

The team is composed of volunteer officers for each department, and a school resource officer.

“They have to volunteer to get on the team, and their bosses have to approve it,” Chance said. “There are tryouts for the team and there has to be unanimous vote from the other team members to be a part of IRT.”

The IRT also trains through mock scenarios at multiple locations, including the former South Highlands Elementary School and Florala City Middle School.

The house used during the trainings was donated by the city of Andalusia, renovated by the APD and the walls inside the building are capable of being moved around to change the layout of the house.