The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa

Top News

February 13, 2013

Officers prepare for the heat of the moment

Gateway-area police officers train for high-risk situations

CLINTON — Clinton police officer Roger Schumacher is bombarded with pressure.

No matter how quickly he bolts across the Clinton High School gym, puts on a 40-pound vest or picks up a battering ram, his team leaders still yell to him, “Move faster! Let’s go!”

He charges up the stairs to the balcony seating, rips off his heavy helmet and puts a gas mask on. Weaving in and out of cones across the length of the balcony, he turns the corner to find his next challenge: a lifeless dummy weighing 165 pounds waiting to be dragged yards.

Gripping the dummy by two straps, he methodically breathes in and out to control himself during the brutal test. Finally, he turns another corner and makes a dash to the other balcony exit where he is met with cheers, applause and congratulations.  Schumacher is a member of the Gateway Area Hazardous Entry and Approach Team, HEAT for short.

The obstacle course he and other members completed Tuesday is just one of the strenuous tests they will endure to keep on point and ready to handle dangerous situations.

The yelling from fellow officers is all part of simulating a real-life situation. At the end, all officers are recognized for completing the course.   

“It’s about building that stress and also that comradery,” Tactical Team Commander and Clinton Police Capt. Bill Greenwalt said.

“These are the worst of the worst and most dangerous situations. You have to be able to trust your partners.”

The team consists of officers from Clinton, Camanche, DeWitt, Fulton, Ill., and Clinton County who respond to high-risk search warrants and arrest warrants as well as a variety of critical incidents such as shootings and hostage situations. This unnumbered group is comparable to a SWAT team.  

 “These are very dedicated, very qualified officers. A lot of work goes into being a member,” Greenwalt said. “You’re forced to come in at all hours of the night on short notice. They receive no extra compensation for being on this team, which they submitted their names to.”

Officers need to have a minimum of two years experience to apply for a spot on the team, but that experience is no guarantee they’ll make the cut. If they do, they will be put through at least a year of rigorous training before they are properly equipped.  

Depending on the availability of team members, Greenwalt said team training occurs about once a month at various locations throughout Clinton County.

According to Assistant Team Leader and Clinton Police Officer Matt Lorenzen, the obstacle course that team members were subjected to as well as other training activities put their capabilities to the test.  

“It’s important to maintain physical fitness as an officer and these officers are expected to go above and beyond that,” Lorenzen said. “It really tests an officer.”

While they are activated they will wear gear that weighs more than 50 pounds, not to mention weapons and other equipment they may bring to a scene when dispatched.  

The team was started more than a decade ago by the Gateway Area Police Administrators, GAPA.

1
Text Only
Top News
  • John Hood A year after 'chaos'

    It happened two hours after John Hood finished his run. Like many, he thought the loud boom was just the sound of cannons going off, something that shook the ground. It was odd, but Hood — a 1989 Clinton High School graduate — tried to make it logical, associating the noise with another good happening at the Boston Marathon.

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • Why do wolves howl?

    Of all the myths that dog the wolf, none is more widely accepted than the idea that wolves howl at the moon. Images of wolves with their heads upturned, singing at the night sky, are as unquestioned as a goldfish's three-second memory or a dog's color-blindness (both also myths).

    April 18, 2014

  • Biggest student loan profits come from grad students

    This week, the Congressional Budget Office projected that the federal government would earn roughly $127 billion from student lending during the next 10 years.

    April 18, 2014

  • AGENDA: 4-22-14 Clinton City Council

    The Clinton City Council will meet Tuesday at 7 p.m. followed by a committee of the whole.

    April 18, 2014

  • Judge asks pointed questions in gay marriage case

    A judge in Colorado who will play a pivotal role deciding whether gays should be allowed to wed in the United States asked pointed questions Thursday about whether Oklahoma can legally ban the unions.

    U.S. Circuit Judge Jerome Holmes is seen as the swing vote on the three-judge panel that heard the Oklahoma appeal and a similar case from Utah last week.

    April 18, 2014

  • NASA's moon-orbiting robot crashes down as planned

    April 18, 2014

  • Eyewitness testimony no longer a gold standard

    The American legal system offers few moments as dramatic as an eyewitness to a crime pointing his finger across a crowded courtroom at a defendant.

    The problem is that decades of studies show eyewitness testimony is only right about half the time — a reality that has prompted a small vanguard of police chiefs, courts and lawmakers to toughen laws governing the handling of eyewitnesses and their accounts of crimes.

    April 18, 2014

  • Blagojevich campaign account donates final dollars

    A federal campaign account for imprisoned former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich is now empty, two years into the Chicago Democrat's prison term.

    The (Arlington Heights) Daily Herald reports Friends of Rod Blagojevich donated $709.85 to a Serbian Orthodox Church monastery earlier this month.

    April 18, 2014

  • GOP lawmaker objects to 9-0 vote for Obama library

    A Republican lawmaker is protesting after an Illinois House committee recorded a 9-0 vote to commit $100 million for President Barack Obama's library and museum, even though the committee's four GOP members weren't there.

    Rep. Ed Sullivan of Mundelein says he didn't expect a vote during Thursday's hearing. He told WBEZ radio and the (Arlington Heights) Daily Herald he would've voted no.

    Sullivan says "the legacy of the Obama presidential library shouldn't be kicked off in a cloud of controversy."

    April 18, 2014

  • Prosecutor says 6 felon voting cases will proceed

    A prosecutor pursuing several cases against felons charged with voting illegally says an Iowa Supreme Court ruling shouldn't impact them.Assistant Black Hawk County Attorney Linda Fangman said Thursday the prosecutions will "proceed as is," despite Tuesday's ruling suggesting that not all felons lose their voting rights. She's handling felony election misconduct cases against six offenders accused of voting in the 2012 election even though they lost their rights. A seventh may plead guilty Monday.

    April 18, 2014

AP Video