Helping Catch the Bad Guys: Bachly Construction donates pre-demolition home to Halton Regional Police Tactical Rescue & Explosive Disposal Unit
Training facilities are essential to keeping Halton’s tactical unit on the top of their game. The problem is, facilities are limited. Real homes provide real training and real challenges.
Bachly construction donated a pre-demolition home in Oakville, Ontario to assist the Halton Regional Police Tactical Unit in their training. The home will be demolished and rebuilt by Bachly Construction’s Custom Homes Division, but in the meantime, the tactical team has been given free rein to knock down doors and put simulated bullets through walls.
The tactical team geared up in front of the Oakville home on a September afternoon and broke in as if they were responding to a real warrant. This kind of practice is invaluable to the tactical unit, but unfortunately, real home training facilities are far and few between for Halton’s police force.
Constable Cyrus Irani expressed how much new training spaces assist his tactical training:“It’s hard for me to put in words how grateful we are and how much this actually does help us train. You can’t imagine. If we were to have one particular training facility in our headquarters, we would get to the point where you get to know it inside and out and you can start doing the stuff in your sleep. It really removes that element of realism. Whereas, like this, we have never set our foot in this home, and it allows us to actually train.”
Bachly Construction will continue to donate pre-demolition buildings to the Halton Regional Police as Bachly’s Custom Homes Division and Commercial Division rebuild more properties across Southern Ontario.
Interview with Constable Cyrus
Q: How often does the Tactical Rescue Unit & Explosive Disposal Unit get called out?
A: On average, I would estimate we are called upon over hundred or so times each year. It can vary year to year. [Tactical rescue] is not necessarily used only for, let’s say just Criminal Code or Drug warrants; our services are often requested by officers on the road or other specialized units within the police service.
Our Mandate includes:
The T.R.U. will respond and deploy on request for the following types of incidents:
(b) hostage taking and barricaded persons
(c) high-risk arrest(s)
(d) high-risk searches
(e) prison escort and court security for high risk prisoners;
(f)assist with search of rough terrain during ground searches
(g) security for V.I.P. and/or threatened persons;
(h) high-risk vehicle stops;
(i) perform explosive forced entry utilizing the services of a police explosive forced entry technician when authorized by the Tactical Commander; and
(j) any other situation where the responding Supervisor or On-Scene Commander believes that the T.R.U. can assist in resolving a potentially dangerous situation.
We’ve also been asked to help neighbouring services like Toronto and Hamilton for larger projects. It’s a little unpredictable, but we are always out there and always busy.
Q: What situations will you be training for today?
A: Today we are focusing on high risk warrant service, so going in for a search warrant whether that be for drugs, guns, that kind of stuff. We will be switching our skill sets to stealth entry and we may incorporate some other skills [with a focus] on footwork.
Q: You have some very cool tools on you today, what kind of things do you do to simulate a real warrant?
A: We like to, as much as we can, use the tools that we actually use operationally. When we are practicing and get to use houses like this, where we get to do damage to the home, we get to use a lot of the tools we would use operationally. That’s our battering rams, our pry bars or hooley bars. When it starts getting into the firearms, we can’t obviously use real firearms, but to simulate that we have what’s called simunition. That’s basically the ability to switch out certain pieces of our operational weapons for what is essentially glorified paint guns.
The magazines that would hold the ammunition [and the gun itself] are very close to the same thing that we would use operationally […], as well as our distraction devices. We could use it here, but I don’t think the neighbours would like the bright lights and the big bangs. So, we use another version for training purposes that gives us the same sound notification and muscle memory, being able to pull the pin and throw it, but it’s a little bit quieter than the actual thing.
Q: The Halton Regional Police Service Tactical Rescue Unit (TRU) was formed in 1980 and since 2001 has become a full-time operation within the Emergency Services Unit. Does the growth within your unit demand more extensive training?
A: Always. We always need to improve. We want to be the best we can be and there are always new skills, new ways of doing things, and new techniques. Just as the bad guys get better and better, we have to get better at what we do. We not only go after ‘bad guys’, but we also help people in distress or crisis. This may be someone that’s been taken hostage, having a mental crisis, suicidal, injured or anything else. We need to be the best at our job and skill set(s) to ensure that we can ultimately help these people.
Q: How do real homes, like the one we are at today, assist your unit in their training?
Again, it’s hard for me to articulate exactly how invaluable these training opportunities are. You really can’t imagine, what you may see as an empty shell of a house ready for demolition, is hours/days of invaluable, unreproducible realistic training. If we were to have one particular facility, we would get to the point where you get to know it inside and out and you can start doing the stuff in your sleep. It really removes that element of realism. Whereas, like this, we have never set our foot in this home, and it allows us to actually train. Whenever we go into stores, factories, or homes we never know what the layout is going to be like. This gives us the element of realism, the challenge of having to think on our feet, and it keeps us fresh and sharp with our skills.