Now Reading
KEEPING IT REAL: An uncomfortable environment creates an ideal scenario for tactical team’s training – The Daily Reporter

KEEPING IT REAL: An uncomfortable environment creates an ideal scenario for tactical team’s training – The Daily Reporter

KEEPING IT REAL: An uncomfortable environment creates an ideal scenario for tactical team’s training - The Daily Reporter

HANCOCK COUNTY — The electricity was off, making the large, unfamiliar building more dangerous and difficult to maneuver around.

That’s just the environment the Hancock County Joint Tactical Team wanted, a place to give members of the squad a chance to train in difficult situations.

“We’re always looking for ways to train where our goal is to clear a structure,” said the team’s commander, Capt. Michael Schwamberger, Greenfield Police Department.

Schwamberger, who has led the squad for nearly five years, said it’s important for them to train for dynamic, fast-paced sweeps as well as deliberate, slower searches.

The Hope Center Indy, 11850 Brookville Road training session was held late last week to simulate what team members might face during high-level warrant calls or hostage rescues, or active-shooter situations. Officers could work in low-light conditions at Hope Center, which was under renovation.

Officials with the women’s shelter invited the team to train there, an invitation the county team couldn’t pass up.

“It’s pretty primitive there with the remodeling — no electricity, no heat — but that was ideal for us because there are situations where we might be called to and we cut the power,” Schwamberger said.

The tactical police unit loves working in darkness. It is a great advantage for members when they are trying to break into buildings that could be in danger.

“A lot of our calls are in low-light situations or last into the night, so this kind of training is good,” said assistant team leader Dave Wood, a detective with the Hancock County Sheriff’s Department.

The county squad is composed of 18 members, with representatives from the GPD; the sheriff’s department; and police departments in New Palestine, McCordsville, Fortville and Cumberland. The team includes two county fire departments’ medics. They train twice per month. It includes training in firearm proficiency, outdoor and inside movements, as well as working with their vehicles and securing structures.

The group trains for 12 hours per month. Wood, who has been a member of the team since 2013, believes that too much training is not possible.

“We like to do as much training as we can,” Wood said. “We take the 12 hours we get each month and try to make the most out of it to maintain a high level of proficiency.”

Wood, who has been with the sheriff’s department since 2012, noted being a part of the joint tactical team is special, because it’s full of officers who do their jobs at a high level.

See Also

“I really enjoy the camaraderie of working on a team,” Wood said. “We do that at our respective agencies, but working closely with guys on a regular basis where you are honing your skills for one common goal, I like that aspect of it.”

The team trains in local schools, which allows them a familiarity with the layout of the buildings. However, it was also beneficial to train in a large unfamiliar facility like the Hope Center.

“Everyone we have on the team is there because they have an interest in helping out on high-risk events,” Schwamberger said. “That’s the whole purpose of the team.”

Schwamberger couldn’t help but laugh when he thought about how much the county team has evolved throughout the years when it comes to its training, equipment and vehicles. Schwamberger was a rookie in the team’s 2010 squad. They arrived at the scene in a van that had no safety features. They now have better equipment and two armored military-type vehicles to protect them in dangerous situations.

“Having someone barricaded in is typically one of the most frequent situations we are called to,” Schwamberger said. “Unfortunately, we’ve seen a lot of the crime in Marion County kind of drift out there because of where we are at.”

Not only does the county team continue to help in dangerous situations locally; they’re open to helping other agencies and have worked in Indianapolis and elsewhere in the state.

“We’ve done several joint operations outside of our county for sure,” Schwamberger said. “If there is a good reason, we’re going to go help, and we’ve seen the relief on officers’ faces when we roll up in our units.”

View Comments (0)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.