Police practice for the real deal
October 3, 2013
GRANBY —If you drove by the Sunshine Motel in Granby on Wednesday, Oct. 2, you might have seen police in bulletproof vests with assault rifles wearing black masks bursting through the doors and breaking out the windows of the old motel.
No criminal mastermind was held up in the building; it was a training exercise completed by the local Emergency Response Team, made up of eight members from the Winter Park, Fraser, Granby, and Kremmling police departments.
The Emergency Response Team, or ERT, is Grand County's equivalent of a SWAT team, commanded by Granby Police Chief Bill Housley and Fraser Winter Park Police Chief Glen Trainor, with Granby Police Sargent Jim Kroaker acting as the tactical commander.
The team was allowed to use the building for the training due to plans to eventually tear the building down due to its age and asbestos contamination.
The team trains at least once every two months and its members are required to complete mental and an extensive and quite difficult physical evaluation.
The team has been used in the past in take-downs of wanted felons and to serve high profile warrant arrests.
During Wednesday's training, the ERT team conducted three scenarios in which they breached doors, ported windows, and used chemical agents to secure "individuals who where wanted for serious offenses," Housley said.
"If we know someone is held up or hiding in a building, we can't just walk up and knock on the door," Housley said. "That is going to turn into a very volatile situation."
Though Granby is considered a rural community, such incidents are not outside of the realm of possibility. "No one is immune from an incident like that from occurring in their community," Housley said.
"It is much better to be prepared for an incident that never happens than to have an incident happen and not be prepared for it," he said. "That is our philosophy."
Reid Tulley can be reached at 970-887-3334