Picture perfect

Published 10:42 pm Thursday, October 28, 2010

A team of Suffolk police officers practice SWAT team tactics for the camera on Thursday. The drill was performed in a downtown parking lot while a city staffer shot photographs for the department’s website.

SWAT team practices tactics on Thursday

More than a dozen SWAT team members piled out of a nondescript white truck in a city parking lot Thursday, in full gear with weapons drawn.

While a leader gave commands with a microphone and headset, the men piled up in a line near the back door of a business. The first two in line wielded tools against the door in preparation for breaking it down.

It could have been a scary scene for passersby and those who work in the buildings nearby, but for the “Police Training In Progress” signs nearby.

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The operation might have been good practice for the officers, but the primary reason for the event was to get new photos for the police department’s website.

“For several months, we have been updating and upgrading the city’s website,” city spokeswoman Debbie George wrote in an email. “We are working with the Police Department now to update their portion. They will have tons of new information on police services available to our citizens.”

The city rolled out a redesigned website more than a year ago, designed to be more user-friendly and to organize information in a more consistent manner. The police portion of the website, though (www.suffolk.va.us/spd), has undergone few changes in the last few years and features only a handful of pictures.

Thursday’s exercise will help change that. A staff member from the Media and Community Relations Department snapped photos as the officers demonstrated raid and sniper techniques.