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DULUTH - It's the drama you see unfold on TV, in movies and even in your own neighborhood – armed SWAT teams storming houses with criminals inside. But the work of these one-of-a kind officers is often misunderstood. So tonight, FOX 21's Dan Hanger gives you an exclusive look behind the drama as Duluth's Tactical Response Unit creates a real-world training exercise to prepare for the worst.
It's the camouflage, heavy gear, big guns and blasts that we've all seen in one form or another.
But Sgt. Bob Shene, with the Duluth Police Department, says the role of a tactical officer is more than the flash and bang.
"This is a very controlled, methodical approach to an arrest. Everything we do is geared toward safety. Everything we do is geared toward getting people out alive," Sgt. Shene said.
The tactical response Tuesday was on Second Street in Downtown Duluth at a home where a homicide suspect was inside refusing to come out.
"What we're here to do in this situation where people have committed a violent crime is to give them the opportunities to voluntarily give up. And everything we do here is geared toward that," Sgt. Shene said.
While today's action by the tactical team looked pretty dramatic, it was all for training.However, the scenario, actions and outcome by the specially trained officers was as real as ever.
"We'd basically let them (the suspect) know they were under arrest. This is the police department and you need to come out of the house. If you do, and you listen to what we say -- our commands of control -- we can guarantee your safety. If you don't, we can't," explained Sgt. Shene.
Sgt. Shene said it all starts with setting up a perimeter and performing constant attempts to communicate with the potentially violent suspect.
The use of scare tactics increases as the suspect refuses to cooperate.
But Sgt. Shene said they're trained to avoid deadly force to protect all involved, and ultimately bring justice to the victim's family.
"When I call us a life-saving organization, that's really what we are. TV and movies tend to paint us in a different light, but ... we're trying to bring a peaceful resolution to the situation," Sgt. Shene explained.
Tuesday real-life training took place in one of the houses being torn down to make way for an expansion at St. Luke's.
The hospital also let the Duluth Fire Department train in the buildings earlier this month.