Old Harrah's building used for police explosives training - KPLC 7 News, Lake Charles, Louisiana

Old Harrah's building used for police explosives training

If you don't already know, you may be wondering what the loud booms were coming from the downtown area of Lake Charles this afternoon. It was Lake Charles Police, some sheriff's departments and the FBI are doing some special training at the old Harrah's building. And you might say,  they had a blast.

Special response and SWAT teams came here to the old Harrah's for special training involving the use of explosives as lake Charles chief don Dixon explains. "We have the opportunity here at the old Harrah's hotel to do some real live training involving the use of explosives, and we're about to do one right now, so you could be hearing a loud noise, In fact, Deputy Chief Kraus is about to set it off. Fire in the hole! Fire in the hole! You gotta love it. Compliments of the Lake Charles Police Department."

They let us shoot video before and after, but not the actual explosions for strategic reasons. Explains Dixon, "Well, obviously I don't want bad guys, we may have a situation, somebody watching the news tonight and say, 'Wow.' And if we were to show what we actually did and the actual explosion and so forth and so on, we don't want them to be prepared. But any bad guy that takes a subject hostage knows that we're going to eventually come in there and get 'em one way or the other-- whether we're coming up through the roof, down through the roof, up through the floor, through a wall-- we're gonna get ya."

Dixon says this kind of real life training is extremely valuable for police.  "Doesn't get any more live than that. You heard the explosion. You see the hole. And if we had a bad guy on the other side, we'd be able to make entry and hopefully effect the rescue. It's extremely valuable. It let's us see the capabilities of what we're doing, of the charges. It give us confidence to know that we could do it if we had to in real life and it takes real life practice on real live buildings and you get very rare opportunities to do this on a real live building before it's being demolished."

Though he says they would only use such measures in extreme circumstances. "We only do this to save lives."

Even when you know it's coming it's still startling--sorry, no spectators-- the gates are locked to keep people out for safety reasons. The training continues tonight up to 9:30, so, no reason for alarm if you hear more loud noises tonight.

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