Multiple agencies collaborate in anti-terror training exercise
KVOA | July 28, 2005
Law enforcement and first responders rushed to Catalina Foothills High School Tuesday. It was all part of a major terrorist training drill.
Organizers say intelligence reports exist, warning that al-Qaida could hit soft spots like malls and schools in the United States. That's why mock terrorists held students hostage Tuesday morning.
Swat teams had to work together with a dozen different agencies to stage a hostage rescue.
The goal was to make the drill as real as possible. This meant using drama students as hostages, and simulated explosive devices.
You may notice the mock terrorists unusual attire, Middle Eastern tunics and head-dresses.
These SWAT team members were sent to a federal training program, and were immersed in the mentality and tactics of al-Qaida terrorists.
Organizers say the dress followed federal guidelines for the drill. They say they aren't trying to stereotype Muslims. They say they were just dressing as closely to what al-Qaida wears as possible.
Sgt. Byron Gwaltney, who was trained in the terrorist program, says "The goal was to give us a good picture of what the enemy is doing, what their mentality is, what their training is, so we can modify our training to counter that. It is extremely important to us, otherwise, during these terrorist training drills, we are just guessing."
These SWAT team trained terrorists will now assist in terrorist drills throughout all of Southern Arizona.