Folks in St. Marks were doing double takes Thursday morning as SWAT teams stormed a waterside park and surrounded the Purdom Power Plant.
It was a terrorist training exercise and it sent more than 200 fatigue clad, gun toting lawmen into the sandy streets of St. Marks.
A suspicious person is hiding in the pavilion at Wakulla River Park, a man who turns out to be a known terrorist with a map of the Purdom Power Plant in his pocket.
"... subject is there, supposedly known terrorist, we don't have anything else other than that,” says Lt. Wayne Musgrove, of the Suwannee County SWAT team.
As SWAT teams hover in boats offshore, the terrorist is interrogated under a mossy oak and reveals two of his cohorts have already snuck into the Purdom Plant with explosives. The same plant a fictitious U.S. senator plans to visit later in the day.
"We do not know what they're armed with, but there is some stuff that was found at the city park that was suspicious, possibly explosive devices. We already requested the bomb squad and they're headed to the scene now,” says Maj. Bill Poole of the Wakulla County Sheriff’s Office.
Men in orange vests are evaluating it all and at the end of the day more than a dozen law enforcement agencies which make up the north Florida Domestic Security Task Force will sit down to hash out what went right and what went wrong.
"Mostly communications issues that we're having trying to hear and talk on the radio with all these different agencies,” adds Sgt. Charlie Strickland of the Leon County SWAT team.
Communication among law men on the ground, water and in the air proves to be the biggest problem in this exercise, an exercise that ends with a terrorist being shot to death and explosives being removed from power plant.
There was a special communications trailer on hand Thursday to try to minimize those radio frequency differences, and keep everyone in touch. That equipment will also be evaluated for its effectiveness.
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