Lewis Geyer, Longmont Times-Call
SWAT team members watch a North Colorado Med Evac helicopter land during a Longmont Police Department SWAT training exercise in a field at Alpine Street and Colo. 66.
Residents of a northeast Longmont neighborhood expressed clashing viewpoints after watching the Longmont Police Department SWAT team train in a field bordering their homes.
The SWAT team will conduct several training exercises at the site this spring and held the first practice session Monday on a property with an open field and old, empty buildings at the southeast corner of Colorado 66 and Alpine Street in the Prairie Village neighborhood. About 15 police officers in green tactical uniforms and helmets armed with non-lethal air pellet guns simulated apprehending armed suspects and forcing entry through closed doors.
As resident Jeff Bunker — whose home backs up to the field where the training is taking place — expressed enthusiasm for the chance to watch officers work, Jeanine Tarrant said the area visible from her front porch is an inappropriate setting for SWAT team exercises.
While Tarrant is nervous that her grandchildren witnessing the training could familiarize them with police methods she calls frightening, Bunker said showing his teenage kids how officers might appear — with tactical gear and guns drawn — during a SWAT operation offers a learning opportunity.