"What we do here is try to teach them how to handle the situation efficiently, effectively, and safely while not injuring anyone that's not necessary or killing anyone that's not necessary, but at the same time making sure they go home safely," says Parkersburg Police Department Sergeant Greg Collins.
Sixteen officers from around the state are learning the ins and outs of what it takes to be part of a SWAT team.
"The things that we stress of course are teamwork, having a common philosophy that everybody believes in, and being able to recognize a situation that you're in as being dangerous before it's too late. So they're having to constantly look ahead at what they're about to get into and they honestly have to make that decision in a split second and it's a lot of responsibility on them to do that," says Sgt. Collins.
Sergeant Greg Collins with the Parkersburg Police Department is one of the instructors in the week long course.
He says SWAT members are usually your top shooters, but it takes much more than that to be considered for this certification.
"But more importantly you have to be able to think under pressure. You have to be mature, you have to not let things snowball and get you panicked, you have to think under pressure. There's a lot that goes into it," says Sgt. Collins.
In an abandoned building downtown, these officers are put to the test.
Practicing scenarios because they never know what to expect when they get called into a dire situation.
"The challenges of SWAT are many. I mean floor plans of the house or building being of the utmost difficulty. You never know what you're getting even when you have intelligence regarding the floor plan it's rarely right. So we have to train these guys to be able to adapt to whatever they encounter," says Sgt. Collins.
Sergeant Collins says this training offered by the PPD is one of the best in the state.
Instructors have first hand knowledge of what can go wrong in the field.
"Quite frankly we get enough work down here from where we learn from a lot of entries, we learn from mistakes, we learn from what went well and there's really no school that can really teach you those things," Sgt. Collins says.
The class culminates in a final simulation Thursday night where these officers put everything they've learned to the test.
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