FORT HOOD — While Fort Hood Family Housing works to increase its occupancy rate, the post’s Special Reaction Team is using vacant homes to improve readiness.
Similar to civilian SWAT teams, the reaction team has been able to train in vacant homes in seven on-post villages in the past six months, said Capt. Jonathan Caylor, a civilian police officer with Fort Hood’s Directorate of Emergency Services.
The post’s two reaction teams train a combined 80 hours a month and often try to incorporate housing as much as possible.
“We incorporate our training from the ranges to houses on the installation,” he said. “A lot of them are built the same way.”
Since many houses in villages have the same layout, it helps police be familiar with homes when they are called to a real situation, Caylor added.
Marvin Williams, director of property management for family housing, said they are happy to facilitate.
“Fort Hood Family Housing and (emergency services) have had a long-standing relationship built on mutual trust and respect. The service and protection they provide to our residents is a tremendous benefit to (family housing),” he said.
“Naturally, we want to do as much as we can to help them serve our residents in the most effective manner possible. DES contacts us on a regular basis to use our empty homes for training purposes. This ensures that (police are) familiar with the layout of the homes and communities should the need arise.”
Last month, the reaction team included the patrol division and hostage negotiators into training that allowed police an entire street in the soon-to-be-demolished Chaffee Village. Role players were used to portray a husband holding a wife hostage, neighbors and witnesses.
“We have to be very professional in what we do, because if not, it leaves people on the installation vulnerable to different types of threats,” Caylor said.