The otherwise quiet, small town of Playas, NM plays host to one of the nation’s premier counter-terrorist training courses, which teaches America’s first responders about explosives and the complex issues surrounding the nefarious suicide bomber. Playas is located in the far-southwest corner of the state, in the high desert and close to the border with Mexico. It is an excellent and impressive locale for anti-terror instruction.

The training course is entitled “Prevention and Response to Suicide Bombing Incidents” (PRSBI) and is funded by FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency) and the DHS (U.S. Department of Homeland Security). The New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology (New Mexico Tech) runs the course for DHS and it is staffed with professional instructors who possess a wealth of knowledge in the field, having served as former LE bomb technicians, S.W.A.T. operators and even Military Special Forces veterans. The Philadelphia Police Department has been sending officers to New Mexico Tech for the past few years and I recently attended this suicide bomber course along with several other members of our department’s Homeland Security Unit and the MIRT (Advanced Major Incident Response Team). The Advanced MIRT officers are members of the department who are pooled from Patrol Divisions part time, to receive extensive training in preparation for response operations to CBRNE (Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear and Explosive) terrorist incidents, as well as the possibility of “active shooter” scenarios and MCIs (mass casualty incidents), while working in tandem with S.W.A.T. in victim rescue and medical treatment.

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