As the fighting continues overseas, some lessons from the Middle East conflict are hitting home right here in Alabama. Members of the Montgomery Police Department SWAT team are in a five day counterterrorism school taught by a former Israeli servicemember.
Out at the practice range, the 12 member team learns that timing is everything. SWAT team member Todd Wheeler notes, "The way the Israelis do it, it's extremely dynamic. It's extremely fast and that's the only way to fight counterterrorism."
That's also why the Montgomery SWAT team is training with Aaron Cohen. He's a veteran of the Israeli counterterrorist unit. Now his four year stint with that team will work for this team. Cohen says he wants, "to be able to help them reduce risk while responding to terrorist threats while in crowded areas." Cohen says these drills and the current situation in the Middle East are a powerful combination for him. He explains,"It's tough. It hits home for me because my unit is working there right now."
Montgomery officers say, if they can absorb the tactics of one of the world's premier counterterrorism teams, they'll learn to move faster and become smaller targets. It's an international lesson racing to the heart of Alabama crime fighters. The Montgomery police say counterterrorism training has become essential for all law enforcement in the wake of 9-11. They say this school fills a real need in their department and the new techniques will be applied to everything they do.