Three officers from Kuna’s police department, deputies Mark Hudson, Chris Bones and Detective Cory Feldman attended SWAT training last Thursday, March 21, 2013 in Star as part of ongoing bimonthly training exercises. Practicing explosive breeching of a house, the officers worked with other SWAT team officers from Boise Police, Meridian Police and the Ada County Sherriff’s Department.
The empty house in Star used for the training, located directly behind the fire station, was slated for demolition and provided an excellent opportunity for the county volunteer SWAT team to practice entries to a hostile domicile.
Training officers worked the SWAT team through exercises involving a variety of explosive entry techniques including blowing door deadbolts, severing the hinges and in the most dramatic entry, splitting the door in half with a diagonal charge.
Officers were dressed in their “kits” which weigh 40 to 60 pounds and include first aid kits, ammo and bullet proof steel plates. Each deputies “kit” is uniquely tailored to a setup of their own specifications including the helmet.
At the scene was the new REVA police SWAT vehicle. Ada County received this rescue vehicle unit through a grant in February, 2011. It was originally built in South Africa and used by the Iraqi police before making it to Idaho. Deputies at the training pointed out an original bullet dent in one window, a souvenir from Iraq. Since its arrival, a ramming bar was added to allow SWAT team members to access a house by ramming through doors or windows while protecting members from a suspect’s gunfire. According to the Ada County Sherriff’s department the REVA has been in service for approximately 10 months and has been used on six calls.
Kuna deputy Chris Bones said that SWAT team members get about a call a month on average. “But sometimes we go several months without a call,” he said.
All SWAT team members are regular duty police officers or deputies serving their city’s departments or the county sheriff’s office and are on volunteer call duty.