Preparing for a potential threat

Published 8:18 pm Saturday, June 23, 2012

Some of our local police and emergency personnel had an excellent opportunity last week to learn more about protecting our citizens.

Police officers from parts of Western Tidewater joined law enforcement and emergency personnel from state and federal agencies to take part in training sponsored by American K-9 Interdiction in Walters and Tripwire Operations Group. The three-day program was intended to show participants how homemade explosives can be made from household materials and to train them in how to detect those explosives in the field.

Participants came away from the program with a newfound appreciation for the dangers American troops deployed in Afghanistan face every day, but they also had their eyes opened to the potential for dangerous and deadly improvised explosive devices to be used on American soil.

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One of the most enlightening demonstrations was also likely the most memorable. Participants got to watch a homemade bomb blow up a school bus on Wednesday at Isle of Wight Material near Smithfield. The impression of the school bus being obliterated by just seven pounds of explosives that were fashioned from materials readily available to anyone with the knowledge and desire to create them will be one that sticks with local emergency services providers and law enforcement officers for a long time.

Without American K-9 in our community, our local officials may have not had this opportunity. The company on Burdette Road in Isle of Wight County trains dogs for the military, a service that’s vital to our troops in harm’s way. We can pray that there will never be a need locally for the training program participants received last week, but a realistic look at the world confirms what most of us already know: There are people out there who would risk just about anything to rain terror on American soil.

We’re glad to know that there are folks who are preparing to fight that threat at home, even when the threat isn’t a clear and present danger.