ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — The FBI took some members of the Rochester Police Department under their wing to partake in the latest training courses at the most state of the art facility in New York. On the final day News 8 was granted access into the complex for a firsthand look at what it takes to survive a bomb threat.
What may look like your typical main road through a small town is really a replica of everyday Main Street storefronts built up by the New York State Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management Services Bomb Training. This time Rochester Police took a turn.
Reenacting a life-or-death scenario, FBI agents tested Rochester Police and others to free hostages and deactivate replicas of bombs to be ready for a threat growing more common in everyday life.
“When we train, we try to train to the highest-level standard that we can,” Rochester Police Bomb Technician Randy Potuck said. “Working through our own limitations. So, you just learn from it, and you move on.”
Outside officers began with storming buses and train cars practicing to takedown criminals wiring them while holding hostages. It’s a threat the FBI trainers running the classes see evolving every year.
“This brings the realism and stress level these guys are going to be put through,” Tony Gonzalez, an FBI Explosive Specialist explained to us. “And it also gives them some realism along with their SWAT teams. They’re going to move in certain ways guys have to move with their SWAT teams to get them safely through the objectives.”
In order to pass Bomb Technicians must meet deadlines and get out safely through four tests then another training exercise to officially be certified by these FBI standards.
“What we’re doing I would say is the most advanced training I would say in my career,” Sgt. Potuck said. “Because again they’re having us use our skills in the worst possible environment. So under extreme stress. You have to make the decision in a very quick manner.”
Other New York Law Enforcement agencies partaking in this included the Syracuse Police Department, Erie County Sheriff’s office and New York State Police. This training course is two weeks long and the FBI expects to be back and hold more for officers all over the country as the threat for COVID-19 drops.