Residents witness police training exercise
HOLLYWOOD, Fla. (WSVN) -- Local law enforcement officers put their skills to the test, to prepare in case disaster strikes.
South Florida law enforcement is completing two days of master rappel training.
Thursday afternoon, training began, as officers rappelled off a 30-foot wall at the training facility.
The exercise continued Friday, as a $22 million military Black Hawk helicopter flew in the skies over Hollywood Beach. "We saw it coming in really low," said onlooker Ben Windle. "A lot of cars pulled over, trying to figure out what's going on."
Some onlookers did not know what to make of the sight. "I didn't know if the helicopter was evacuating someone, or the parking garage was shut down," said Windle.
Others were terrified. "Scared the crap out of us," Michael Antosh said. "Look at him, he's flying!"
One boy said, "We thought we were all going to die or something."
The crowds below the Black Hawk were caught in its rough winds. "I have never seen helicopters so close to civilians, especially on the beach," onlooker Chris Camejo said.
As residents stared up at the chopper, the side of the Black Hawk suddenly opened, and out dropped a rope. Then, several law enforcement officers rappelled down the rope and onto the top of a nearby parking garage. "I saw these men going down a wire from the helicopter," a young witness said.
Law enforcement officers, including SWAT Team members, took the same helicopter run Thursday night.
As a result of the training exercise, officers learned how to handle a high-rise barricaded suspect and a hostage. They also learned how to execute a rescue from the top floors of a high building. Windle said, "Nice to know they're ready for that."
South Florida officers have not had to use this training in a real-life situation in nearly 20 years.
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