SWAT prepares for bank heist
Training exercise held in Newton Plaza
Several Newton County law enforcement and emergency agencies participated in a mock robbery and hostage situation at Bank of North Georgia’s Newton Plaza branch Tuesday. The annual training gave public safety personnel an opportunity to test their training in a real-life scenario.
“It’s not only good for us to train with other agencies within Newton County working together, it’s also a requirement for our accreditation,” said Lt. Wendell Wagstaff, Covington Police Department public information officer. “We put up the signs that said training in progress so if anyone came by, they would know it’s just a training scenario.”
In addition to the Covington Police Department, the Newton Coun- ty Sheriff’s Office, Covington Fire Department, Newton County EMS and Covington Utilities participated in the training.
Lt. Wagstaff said the exercise gave the bank employees a chance to practice their internal safety procedures as well.
The training began at 7:30 a.m. with 10 bank employees being taken hostage by two robbers.
“The bank employees have been made aware that this is a mock bank robbery so no one has a heart attack or anything,” Wagstaff said.
The department’s hostage negotiators were brought in to reason with the robbers and the SWAT team, snipers and other officers were also deployed. About 25 officers and 15 public safety personnel participated in the exercise.
Hold your fire:
Members of the Newton County S.W.A.T. team move in on the Bank of North Georgia located in Newton Plaza during a S.W.A.T. training session Tuesday morning. The training exercise involved the recreation of a bank robbery and hostage situation.