Police train in Star Addition

By 
Jasmine Hall
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“Shots fired,” Livingston Police Department officers could be heard saying over the radio. 

“Any units we have available, we need you to respond to 101 Star Road,” Dispatch Communication Officer Judy Story stated into a radio transceiver.

Livingston Police Department Officers suited up to enter into a vacant city building on Star Road Wednesday morning to participate in training simulating real-life scenarios including nonlethal ammunition, simulated dispatch and pretend bad guys. 

In this case, the suspect was Livingston Chief of Police Dale Johnson, who hid in the dark  building waiting for officers to confront him, armed with blue Simunition pistols — nonlethal training ammunition which fires blank, blue-colored cartridges. 

“They shoot at a high enough speed you can feel it,” Johnson said Tuesday morning adding in the past the blanks have broken skin. “… but because I knew I was going to be playing this, there’s foam in my shirt and pants.”

After one simulation with comments heard over the radio including “shots fired,” “request for medical” and “call a corner,” Johnson was half expected to be rolled out on a fake stretcher, but instead came out with small blue shots across his chest. 

“10-4. It’s been one of those days,” an officer said over the radio after requesting dispatch call the corner. 

Johnson said training simulations on clearing a building is important because his officers are frequently asked to respond to calls requiring them to enter into unfamiliar  territory.

“We clear buildings on a routine basis,” Johnson said. “Whether it’s open buildings in the downtown area in the middle of the night, or calls of somebody inside of buildings, we’re just making sure we’re doing it the best that we can and safely for everybody.”

K9 Officer Andrew Emanuel, who is also LPD’s firearms and defensive tactics instructor, helped lead the training. Emanuel said the simulations help officers focus on factors such as working in the dark, noise and helps with tactics and safety preperation.

“We’re trying to make this as realistic as possible,” Emanuel said. “We want to make sure the officers are focusing on everything that they can focus on … Just overall officer safety and how to deescalate the situation.”

Tuesday’s training was the first time that the department has used the Star Road building —acquired by the city earlier this year — for personnel training, Johnson said. However, Emanuel added he has previously used the structure for his K9 Bobbi’s training such as narcotic detection and building searches. 

“If someone’s behind the door (Bobbi’s) trained to alert to the proper door,” Emanuel said adding later that day an officer may don a bite suit so Bobbi can get in on some training. “It makes it easier for us to locate a suspect rather than us searching each room systematically.”

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Jasmine Hall may be reached at jhall@livent.net.