PAWNEE, IL – Earlier this week, the Illinois State Police (ISP) SWAT conducted a live hostage barricade training exercise using high powered sniper rifles, explosives, armored vehicles, and an agency helicopter as part of the Agency’s commitment to continuing specialized training and education in operational tactics.
With temperatures exceeding 90 degrees and the heat index climbing to over 100 degrees, armor-clad SWAT officers demonstrated its latest techniques and strategies on freeing hostages from armed, barricaded suspects, while also demonstrating explosive breach techniques. Members of the team demonstrated marksmanship by targeting several barricaded rooms on the move, descending from a helicopter while hitting targets with a degree of accuracy. The training exercise is part of the Special Operations Command Section’s on-going training efforts to prepare unit members for the unexpected.
“These training exercises are critical and necessary so that our officers are equipped with the necessary skills to respond safely and with tactical precision at every level during a crisis situation,” said ISP Director Hiram Grau. “Upcoming events like the G-8 Summit underscore the importance of this elite unit and their tremendous value to federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies,” Grau added.
The ISP SWAT is currently composed of 44 officers divided among three teams: north, central and south.
In 2010, the ISP SWAT conducted 281 missions with 150 of those being high risk search and arrest warrants. So far this year, the ISP SWAT has executed 160 operations which included warrants, hostage/barricade situations, dignitary protection, and crowd control. Many surrounding and local municipalities rely on the ISP SWAT for high risk operations, equipment, and training support.
The Unit’s Commanding Officer also stressed the importance of recurring tactical and anti-terrorism training. “Our officers have some of the best tactical training in the country and have trained and certified other local police department units,” said Captain Scott Koerner. “They are equipped with critical decision making skills that are necessary to respond to any crisis situation,” he added. The ISP SWAT is fully certified as the state's law enforcement response for any type of Weapons of Mass Destruction event and is dedicated 24 hours.