Wednesday, April 27, 2016

County Police & Fire Departments Destructive Training at Ft. Howard

The Baltimore County Police and Fire Departments used the Ft. Howard Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Center property for training grounds. If there's anybody whom we'd benefit from being allowed to run training exercises in and among the large old buildings of Ft. Howard, it is the people who protect us and save lives and property, it's the county police and fire fighters.

There is a problem, though: Allegedly, the training sessions required the participants to do damage to VA property. Why had the federal VA allowed the county police and fire to damage buildings that are slated for rehabbing by a property developer?

Some years ago, I was leaving a late afternoon doctor's appointment at the Ft. Howard VAMC Clinic and saw a large group of individuals hanging around over by a building. Some had county police uniforms on, some were in civilian attire, I noticed firearms on them, a K9 Cop was there. I realized it was a swat team. They were waiting for the VA medical clinic to close at 4:30, so clinic staff and patients would not be disturbed by police pretending to do hostage rescues, room to room searches for kidnappers, burglars, terrorists, etc ..

A year or two after seeing the swat team, I was talking about that with two men who live in the Ft. Howard civilian neighborhood just outside of the VA property. They said, "The swat team was using C4 explosives in there to practice forced entries by blasting doors open. They damaged 90 doors doing that. And the fire department cut a big hole in a beautiful old hardwood floor of one of those large 100-year-old houses. The hole's big enough to need a 4ft X 8ft piece of plywood to cover it."

Someday it may be me or you trapped in a collapsed, burning building and that floor cutting technique could be used by those fire fighters to rescue you or me. The police training teaches techniques that might be used by the cops to protect our lives or our loved ones.

But why were they allowed to do that to buildings slated to be rehabbed?

That's all I have on the subject. I never went into the buildings to look for those damages, so I cannot verify it today. But may be able to later.

If the Ft. Howard buildings were slated to be demolished, yeah man!, let the fire fighters and police train all over the place - busting up anything that they'd normally bust up when actually battling a fire, doing rescues or searching for bad guys. Hell! Let the fire department do controlled burns. Let the police shoot live rounds in the buildings and blast their way through with any explosives they need to practice with.

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