By Victor O'Brien
Killeen Daily Herald
Killeen police swarmed a vacant hotel Thursday with an armored vehicle and more than 20 SWAT team officers.
The vacant Howard Johnson housed a 10-hour training exercise for Killeen police officers who work on the Special Weapons and Tactics team and the Tactical Response Unit, which is the department's negotiators.
More than 20 officers trained using the hotel's empty rooms and parking lot on Trimmier Road and Central Texas Expressway.
Administrative personnel assisted the officers as they ran through several scenarios meant to simulate real-life situations.
"You have to train for any scenario that could come up," Killeen Police Department spokeswoman Carroll Smith said. "You have to be on your toes."
Outside the hotel, the department positioned the "Peacekeeper" armored vehicle, a mobile command center and several cruisers.
Citing strategic purposes, the department declined to release the types of scenarios practiced Thursday. In the past, officers practiced hostage standoffs on buses and building breaches.
In March, the department was involved in a three-hour standoff with a man who held a woman hostage for an hour before he released her; he later shot himself.
The department trains throughout the year to stay ready for SWAT calls. The calls represent some of the department's most dangerous and volatile situations, requiring a show of force that extends beyond officers on patrol.
The full-scale mock trainings, such as the one performed Thursday, occur at least four times per year as mandated by KPD policy.
"They bring up questions you might not think about when you're in the situation," Smith said.
Contact Victor O'Brien at firstname.lastname@example.org or (254) 501-7468. Follow him on Twitter at KDHcrime.