UDOT helps a Utah SWAT unit train by providing an abandoned home

Jan 17, 2023, 6:38 PM | Updated: 7:38 pm

DAVIS COUNTY, Utah — The North Davis Metro SWAT team is getting a somewhat rare chance to train inside a real home, all thanks to the Utah Department of Transportation.

Normally, training like this occurs in prebuilt courses made by police departments. So getting a real home, one that they haven’t seen before, gives officers a chance to face the unexpected.

“There’s always the regular places that we can train, and you can game the system a lot when you do that,” explained Lieutenant Riley Richins of the Layton City Police Department. “So to have an opportunity like this is just invaluable.”

Richins heads up North Davis Metro SWAT. He said by the time they are needed, negotiations have failed as SWAT officers head in to confront a suspect, but the situations they face can vary.

“Whether it’s a barricade, high-risk search warrants, hostage rescue. We train for those tense, uncertain, and rapidly-evolving situations so that we can save lives,” Richins said.

Many of the tactics used for those situations are kept as secret as possible to maintain the element of surprise in those difficult situations.

“This is why we train is to have the tactics so that we can save the lives of the innocent victims,” Richins said.

SWAT units preparing to breach the home. (KSL-TV) SWAT units breaching the home. (KSL-TV) SWAT units preparing to breach the home. (KSL-TV) SWAT units preparing to breach the home. (KSL-TV)

Getting this help from UDOT is huge, as police can take officers out of the courses and buildings they regularly train in and introduce them to the unknown.

The Clinton, Utah, house being used for training is set to be demolished as part of upcoming construction for the new interchange for Interstate 15. Police are able to use the home as UDOT is still in the early stages of development.

The Layton Police Department is in charge of North Davis SWAT, though seven different agencies are involved in this particular training.

“We try and work with the different cities and different agencies to try and get structures that we can actually train in, just to help us to have more reality-based training,” Richins said.

But the hope with many of their real-world callouts is that they won’t have to head inside, instead supporting the other agencies and negotiators on-scene.

“Our number one goal is to resolve the situation peacefully,” Richins expressed.

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UDOT helps a Utah SWAT unit train by providing an abandoned home