RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — On Thursday, Richmond police’s SWAT team got a big surprise: an elaborate training session with a real-life twist.
The SWAT team suited up with just minutes of notice to practice for an active shooter and barricade situation. Richmond Police Chief William Smith watched his officers perform from the sidelines.
“The more realistic we make the training, the better we’re able to handle real-world scenarios,” said Smith.
As the SWAT team trained for crisis in Richmond, headlines were breaking of a real threat. This time it was a shooting at a school in California.
Chief Smith told 8News he just went through more use-of-force training himself last week.
“I want to be challenged to think and to respond to the scenario as it comes towards me, so that I can learn and be better prepared to do whatever role I may be playing,” he said.
Richmond Police is in the midst of investigating and working to close a number of high-profile cases.
Chief Smith said a 12-year-old girl shot Tuesday in South Richmond is making a miraculous recovery. Detectives, he says, are still unsure of a motive for the attack.
“Amazingly she is doing better,” Chief Smith said of the young victim. “She’s recovering and appears to be going to survive.”
Just two weeks ago, Smith also announced two arrests in the fatal Memorial Day Weekend shooting of 9-year-old Markiya Dickson. One suspect is still on the run.
“We are still tracking him as best we can and we hope to have an arrest in the final third person soon,” said Smith.
After a year of tragic shootings in Richmond, many involving the city’s youngest residents, Chief Smith says he’s working on ways to help young people before they pick up a gun.
“We have a number of programs that we’re trying to initiate now where we do some earlier intervention and provide youth with better coping skills and better ways to manage the challenges of life,” he said.
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