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Anti-Terrorism Training Along the St. Marks River

It was part of their anti-terrorism training. SWAT teams accustomed to maneuvering on dry land suddenly had to find their footing on the water.

Gun-toting deputies leaped from boats and scaled the sea wall with massive fuel tanks and the Purdom power plant looming beyond.

CAPT Eric Johnston of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission says, "You get a land borne SWAT team like Leon County's used to a water borne environment, so if we have to breach a wall such as the one behind us, we need to practice it before it happens."

It's practice for the imaginary day a terrorist decides to quietly steal up the St. Marks River, disrupt Tallahassee's power supply or strike a nearby gunpowder plant.

CAPT Gene Revell of the Leon County Sheriff's Office says, "It'd be a disaster waiting if we don't plan ahead. A lot of what we do in any tactical environment is practice for something we hope never happens."

Leon County's SWAT team, along with Columbia County deputies and Fish and Wildlife officers, spent the day practicing assaults from boat to dock and boat to boat, trying to gain their footing when so many things move beneath your feet.

SGT Larry Folsom of the LCSO SWAT Team says, "You really gotta judge the surface you're disembarking onto because they start shifting, things like that; it gets a little hairy sometimes."

Law enforcement officers will be training on the river in the weeks ahead. The Regional Domestic Security Task Force is sponsoring the training.


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