Wednesday, January 15, 2014

SWAT Exercise Reassures Some, Startles Other Residents


NKY Law Enforcement stages SWAT team exercises on N. Ft. Thomas Ave. Photo: Mark Collier

by PAT LaFLEUR
Reporter, Fort Thomas Matters

See below for UPDATE to this story.

Around 10 A.M. Wednesday morning, Northern Kentucky's SWAT team coordinated a routine set of exercises intended to train officers on how to enter buildings safely and tactically. 

The exercises took place at 1627 N. Ft. Thomas Ave., a currently vacant property, and involved a combination of officers from several Northern Kentucky municipalities. The FTPD's own Officer Douglas Bryant represents Fort Thomas on the NKY SWAT team. NKY SWAT coordinated the exercises with the property owner.

FTM is still awaiting a statement from the FTPD (see below), but Fort Thomas City Administrator Don Martin tells FTM, "These types of exercises allow our SWAT officers and the SWAT officers from other municipalities to work together to be better prepared for real-life situations," such as last month's stand-off in Latonia between the SWAT team and a veteran who had barricaded himself in his home with his children. 

Martin also tells FTM that the house used to stage the exercises is slated for potential demolition.

The pre-scheduled exercises coincidentally occurred in the wake of news of a bomb-threat delivered to Highlands High School earlier Wednesday morning, and some nearby residents were initially alarmed by the exercises. The exercises involved a SWAT truck, nearly a dozen law enforcement vehicles from various cities, Kenton and Campbell County Sheriff vehicles, and the team itself, training with assault rifles.

One N. Ft. Thomas Ave. resident who lives nearby commented on Facebook, "Wish they could have let me know... I had a major rush of adrenaline!" while others commented on how seeing SWAT exercises like this reassures them of their safety in Fort Thomas.

FTM is awaiting more information from FTPD on how these exercises are planned and how/if the public is notified. This story will be updated (see below).

At the time of this posting, NKY SWAT is still engaged in the training exercises.


UPDATE: Fort Thomas Police Chief Mike Daly has confirmed to FTM that the SWAT team was engaged in a pre-scheduled routine exercise, noting that "exercises like these are a huge plus for the city because it allows these guys to practice and train on our streets."

Daly also added, "The farthest thing we intended was to create confusion or panic among residents," and offered an apology to any residents who were alarmed by this morning's exercises.

Daly had informed St. Catherine Elementary and Johnson Elementary prior to the exercises, so as to avoid confusion among parents taking their children to or from school.

"If residents ever have questions in an event like this, they can call county dispatch (859-292-3622) or our own administrative office (859-441-6562) directly for information," he said.

3 comments:

  1. Thanks FTM and Chief Daly. It is very important to be transparent and this types of outreach is such a good thing for our community!

    Thanks for the update.

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  2. OUR community should have been notified! To have the bomb threat at HHS then to see 15 cruisers get out and draw their weapons with gear was so alarming! Ft. Thomas warns you about flushing drains but what about a warning to surrounding homes for a major swat team drill. One elderly neighbor was too frightened to open her door. This was complete panic for surrounding homes and schools. This event should have been cancelled give the recent bomb threat this morning. Why was this an ideal location in the center of a busy community. Also to see kids walking home from school with terrified looks on their faces was also just wrong. As of 4:00 it's still going on.

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  3. The community should have been notified of this scheduled event. Also I think this should have been cancelled given the recent earlier bomb threat at HHS. Many thought the two were connected and to the community this created panic and reason for alarm. This obvious was not the ideal location for this Campbell /Kenton County Drill.To see young school children walking home from school to witness men with drawn guns masks was just wrong. I appreciate the officers being proactive but to have a drill of this magnitude they certainly did not pick an appropriate location.

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