COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) – Ten days after burying a member of the SWAT team, Columbus Police Lieutenant Paul Ohl reflected on what he and his fellow officers do each day.
“It was just a tragic thing that happened,” Ohl said of Officer Steven Smith’s death. “It was the equivalent of walking out on a sunny day and getting struck by lightning.”
Officer Smith was killed in a standoff earlier this month. Since his funeral April 19, the SWAT team has faced three missions. The latest happened Friday, as a man barricaded himself in a West Side house following an alleged domestic violence situation. The man was eventually taken into police custody.
“I don’t think there’s fear, to be honest with you,” Ohl said. “I think what we do have is awareness that anything could happen at any time.”
Ohl said the team focuses on tactics and training, rather than worrying about what could happen and whether there could be a repeat of a tragedy like the one that killed Officer Smith.
“I think you maybe become, I wouldn’t say complacent is the word, but you become [accustomed] to going to a scene and coming out of it unscathed and this was a situation where this did not happen obviously,” Ohl said.
Ohl spoke to NBC4 about the training and experience level of the officers on the SWAT team. He said there are many different training scenarios for which they practice and that all of the officers on the team have years of experience in law enforcement.
“The best that you can do is to be flexible and to stay calm, as calm as possible and to respond to the different things that are going to happen,” Ohl said.
Ohl said the work would honor their fallen colleague.
“He would want us to move forward,” Ohl said. “He would tell us, ‘Hey guys, harden up and move on, move forward, do the job that you have been trained to do.’”
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