Champaign police SWAT team sets training Thursday at two schools

Champaign police SWAT team sets training Thursday at two schools

CHAMPAIGN — The Champaign police department's SWAT unit is taking advantage of summer vacation at two schools to sharpen their response skills.

Sgt. Aaron Lack said 13 SWAT members will be joined by six school resource officers in all-day training exercises Thursday at Edison Middle School in the morning and Franklin Middle School in the afternoon.

"The training is focused on an active threat: something bad happening and the SROs responding along with all of patrol," Lack said.

Lack said the six school resource officers have been in their own specialized training since Monday and will come together with SWAT members Thursday to practice what everyone has learned in life-like scenarios.

"We'll have quite a few role players — teenagers and early 20-year-olds, friends and family — to make it as realistic as possible," he said. "There will be gunfire only from blank guns. There shouldn't be any louder booms than that, but there may be role players acting like they are screaming."

Lack said the department is letting the public know about the training so no one will be alarmed if they see or hear unusual activity around the schools.

Training starts about 7 a.m. at Edison, 306 W. Green St., and will wrap up there by midday. Actors and the officers will then move to Franklin, 817 N. Harris Ave., around 1 p.m. and train until 5 p.m.

"It would be nice if the public stayed away and not get alarmed if they hear noises," Lack said.

Thursday's exercises are part of about 200 hours of specialized training that SWAT members engage in every year.

The police department is alerting residents and businesses in those neighborhoods, and signs will be posted around the schools while the training is going on.

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