Local SWAT performs explosive breaching and active shooter training

KENNEWICK, Wash. — The Tri-City Regional SWAT Team brought out local law enforcement agencies for an explosive breaching and active shooter training at Ridge View Elementary School.

Commander Aaron Clem is with the Kennewick Police Department and the SWAT Team. He said activities like these are infinitely valuable for training and gives hands-on experience.

“We never know when these situations are gonna happen, and hopefully it never happens here,” said Cmdr. Clem. “But if it does, we want to make sure that we are as prepared as possible. And that’s what this opportunity does for us. It makes sure that we are prepared if something like that happens.”

Cmdr. Clem said though active shooter situations are rare, “We want to make sure that we have practiced it. We know exactly what we need to do, so that if that need arises we don’t have to think about it. We don’t have to make it up as we go. We can just apply the tools that we have and gain entry and resolve the problem.”

Law enforcement chose Ridge View Elementary because it’s about to be demolished. Cmdr. Clem said it’s the perfect time to practice their response for a mass casualty situation.

He said, “It gives us an opportunity to have the whole team here, practice not only breaching those doors, but also working through schools and doing some of the normal training that they would normally do. But on a larger scale.”

Being able to use steel frame doors, like the ones in schools, is an exercise they don’t often get to practice.

As law enforcement response to something like a school shooting is under the microscope right now, it’s at the forefront of these officers’ minds.

READ: Report finds evidence of ‘systemic failures’ in Uvalde school massacre

Cmdr. Clem said this training would have been influential in other mass shootings, especially in Uvalde, Texas.

“There’s some preliminary talk that maybe the door was locked going into that classroom, and the officers had to wait for a key,” Cmdr. Clem said. “We don’t want to have to do that. We want to have the training and the ability to breach a door like that.”

He said the Kennewick Police Department will be collaborating with the Kennewick School District again for the department’s yearly active shooter training. He said it will be August at Kamiakin High School.