State Police Blast Doors in Former Jackson Hotel

By: Lindsay Veremis Email
By: Lindsay Veremis Email

Downtown Jackson was the site of explosive training Tuesday, as members of the Michigan TRIAD took over the former Riverwalk Plaza Hotel.

"It really reproduces the setting and that's what makes it more valuable to us," Lieutenant David Bower explained.

The elite group is often a front line of defense. It combines the Michigan State Police bomb squad, SWAT team and 51st Civil Support Team, a National Guard unit out of Battle Creek.

"The goal of TRIAD is to respond to multi-threat instances, so whether it's chemical, whether it's explosive or whether it's tactical we have the ability to respond to that situation," Bower said.

More than 30 members geared up to learn how to take down doors. The goal? Use the smallest amount of explosive possible.

"We would like the door to literally just open and potentially stay on the hinges because we don't want to hurt anybody inside, including the suspect," State Police Bomb Squad Commander, Lieutenant Josh Collins said.

Collins says the skill is imperative in hostage situations, rescues where troopers need to get inside fast.

"I think it's good for the public to know that you have assets like that out there," Bower said. "That those assets can be brought to bear when necessary and that they can count on them to be able to do the job professionally."

TRIAD has completed similar drills at a training facility State Police constructed in Lansing, but leaders say it's tough to beat the Riverwalk hotel as a training sight. It is as close to real-life conditions as they can get.

"No one is going to let us come and blow the door on a brand new building, so it's great to find something at least of a modern design with modern technology still inside," Collins explained.

With every blast, he says, comes more information, a better strategy and quicker attack.

The bomb squad keeps track of its training blasts, known as test shots, to determine what type of charge is the most effective for each type of door they may encounter.


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