Members of the Orange County Special Weapons And Tactics (SWAT) team were in full gear at Lorena Oates Elementary on Tuesday, moving through numerous scenarios as part of monthly training exercises. The multi-jurisdictional SWAT unit, comprised of law enforcement officers from the Orange County Sheriff’s Office, the West Orange Police Department, and the Orange Police Department, utilized the opportunity to review tactics of protecting students.

Tracy Sorge, a Narcotics Sargent with the Orange County Sheriff’s Department and SWAT member said, “Protecting students in the educational environment is one of many situations that we train for. This training was already planned, but we incorporated the recent events of Connecticut into our exercise today to critique our response to an active shooter situation.”

This is the fifth occasion in the past 18 months that the Orange County SWAT team has trained at a West Orange –Cove facility.

“Two months ago, we had the U.S. Military Green Berets come in. We worked side by side with them at this facility using the same techniques that they use in Afghanistan and Iraq. We take things that we observe through them and incorporate them into the civilian side of law enforcement to better serve our community,” Sorge said.

Clint Hodgkinson, Chief Deputy with the Orange County Sheriff’s Department, said the SWAT training also includes members of patrol units and first responders.

West Orange – Cove Superintendent James Colbert said, “We have been refining our emergency operation plan since April of 2012. However, we have been working with our local SWAT team for even longer. The training that we have been able to participate in has assisted us in developing an emergency operation plan that helps us to respond to situations that many would consider unthinkable.”

Editor’s Note:  The Lorena Oates Elementary school is a property that does not currently house students.