Officers Practice SWAT-Style Training at North Hills School

By Seiling, Donna | Tribune-Review/Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, September 13, 2007 | Go to article overview

Officers Practice SWAT-Style Training at North Hills School


Seiling, Donna, Tribune-Review/Pittsburgh Tribune-Review


For the second time in two months, police from multiple departments will descend on a North Hills area high school campus this weekend.

And again, they hope they won't have to return for the real thing.

The tactical response training session on Saturday and Sunday at Hampton High School is a state-mandated course intended to train officers to respond to incidents such as those at Columbine High School and, more recently, Virginia Tech. Officers will participate from departments in Hampton, West Deer, Indiana Township, O'Hara, Bellevue, West View, Etna, Zelienople and Butler Township.

"After Columbine, there was a big change in philosophy on how police respond to this type of incident," said Hampton police Chief Dan Connolly. "Before then, it was secure the premise and wait for the SWAT team to neutralize the threat. But Columbine changed all that. With a united response, police now go in."

Other department conducted a similar training program at Seneca Valley High School last month.

The officers are trained to act as a team, Connolly said. The high school is a useful site because it is transferable to other large buildings with hallways and corridors.

Instructors from Penn State University's Fayette campus teach the two-day course, which is paid for with a state grant. …

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