SWAT to Train in Buyout House

A Barnes County-owned buyout house along the Sheyenne River south of Valley City will serve a special purpose before it is eventually dismantled.

At Tuesday’s meeting the county commission moved to allow the regional SWAT team to use the building for training exercises.

The exact time and location of the training will not be made public because the team wishes to keep its methods a secret from the criminals who will be subject to them.

“They would like it to be out of town to maintain some privacy,” County Emergency Manager Kim Franklin said. “They’re not going to advertise it ahead of time. They don’t want a lot of onlookers; they have their own things they practice.”

Commissioner Cindy Schwehr said she’d be interested in viewing the training.

“I participated in a SWAT team’s training exercises in a buyout home in Valley City one time,” she said. “Last time I got to be the drug addict so I got dragged out and (an officer) threw me on the ground and ‘cuffed me. It was pretty fun; of course I wasn’t cooperating so I got what I had coming.”

None of the county’s FEMA buyout homes can be demolished and burned until all asbestos is safely removed. In the past, county officials found themselves in hot water after a county-retained contractor improperly removed from another county-owned property slated for demolition.

Also, due to dry weather several burning bans had been in effect.

The county’s fire threat was reduced to medium on Monday following weekend rains.

“We’re not talking burning this one, they’re going to practice, I assume, some kind of drug-bust hostage situation,” Schwehr said.