Jones County Emergency Response Team trains in Anamosa - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Jones County Emergency Response Team trains in Anamosa

ANAMOSA (KWWL) - A normally quiet and abandoned parking lot, formerly used by Wal-Mart, was a noisy place on Tuesday.

The Jones County Emergency Response Team, comprised of members from the Monitcello, Anamosa and Cascade police, as well as the Jones County Sheriff's Department, gathered there for a montly training exercise.

"Hostage situations, and of course anything that deals with children," said team training officer Corey Roberts, "we need to be at the top of our game."

Roberts says the team, with members spread throughout the county, allows them to cover a wide area, and limit response time to dire situations. 

One of Tuesday's scenarios had volunteers, one playing a perpetrator with others as hostages, in the tight confines of a school bus. Roberts says it's one of the most complex situations a law enforcement officer will ever deal with.

"We have to be sharp, we have to be honed as tight as we can, if we're dealing with somebody's kids."

Jones County dispatcher Stephanie Coffey says just acting as a hostage is intense.

"When someone does call in an actual event, I can kind of understand what they're experiencing," she told us.

It's as real as possible for the officers, too, as they wear full tactical gear on each run. For these training exercises, the team actually uses real guns. However, rather than using live ammunition, they're equipped with something called "sim-unition," which are essentially paint pellets. But, they still add a layer of realism to the training.

Sergeant Britt Smith with the Monticello Police Department hopes he'll never encounter a situation like this, but it's one he feels prepared for.

"These are the types of things that you do not get to experience on general patrol," Smith told us.

The team has not been called to any live missions yet, but SWAT instructors will evaluate them in a couple months. They hope to be fully operational this summer.

Online Reporter - Brady Smith

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