Reporting Jay Levine
CHICAGO (CBS) — As Federal Agents and police in Boston continue their investigation of the marathon bombings, authorities here in Chicago are working to refine their anti-terrorist plans and procedures.
CBS 2 Chief Correspondent Jay Levine goes behind the scenes for a first-hand look at local SWAT teams in training.
Located on the top floor of a suburban warehouse, room after room is specially outfitted for emergency response training.
“We simulate different scenarios here, try to make it as realistic as possible,” said Patrick Siemsen, Assistant Commander of the South Suburban Emergency Response Team.
Like the elementary school classroom where terrorists depicted in life sized posters are holding a group of students. Instructors from the South Suburban Emergency response task force demonstrate the plan of attack.
The swat training session was planned well before the Boston bombings but it was clear that Boston was on the minds of many taking part.
“It’s this kind of training that allowed the swat team in Boston to do what they did,” said Jason Gondek of Sauk Village.
There’s nothing fancy here. No heavy weapons or hi-tech toys.
“We believe in investing in tools and not toys,” said Mike Masters, County Homeland Security Director.
Masters, uses federal grants to run training sessions he says give officers the tools to battle terrorists.
“Training is an absolute priority,” said Masters.
Skills being honed this afternoon in Flossmoor as the officers responded to a mock hostage situation.
The woman escapes and runs to officers manning the perimeter.
On the ground, trainers monitor every move and correct them when they make a mistake.
Finally the house is assaulted. The suspect is taken into custody without incident or injury, an outcome these officers may now be better prepared to see repeated, when and if they face the real thing.
“We can provide the best training in the world we can provide the best equipment in the world to our first responders., we all have a responsibility though. if you see something, say something,” said Masters.
But that is especially true, Masters told me, with the so-called self-radicalized, homegrown terrorists like we saw in Boston, apparently working alone.and therefore a lot harder to catch.