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Every special response and weapons officer in Johnson County literally spent the day breaking down doors on Tuesday. And some special circumstances gave this training a much more realistic feel than usual.

Training to locate a gunman and hostages or clearing out a building to search for a potential threat is something police tactical teams train for all the time. And it is something that’s happened in real life on college campuses. But special response teams typically can’t practice some of the real life tactics they use because it would extensively damage property. So the offer to tear up Oakdale Hall on the University of Iowa’s Oakdale Campus created an unusual opportunity.

Oakdale Hall, the former home of the state Hygienic Lab, is getting demolished in the coming months. So using an entire wing of the multi-story building for practice, and not having to worry about any damage was something officers couldn’t pass up.

At least 50 officers who are part of special response teams in different departments took part in the day long training. Officers from the University of Iowa Police, Iowa City Police, Coralville Police and Johnson County Sheriff’s Department all took turns storming parts of the building in full tactical gear. Teams would roam hallways and employ ballistic rams to battered down sturdy doors or windows.

Lieutenant Eric Werling, University of Iowa Police, said “it gives us a chance to get into the scenario. It’s one thing to go in and say ‘bang, bang, bang.’ But it’s something else to get in and knock the door down to get somebody in there.”

Source: Dave Franzman for KCRG.

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