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WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — New Hanover County’s emergency responders, the bomb squad and negotiators converged on ILM this afternoon. But don’t be alarmed, it was all a training exercise for the sheriff’s office.

The New Hanover County Sheriff’s Office developed a scenario for the exercise, detailed in about 40 pages, where an inmate from the prison system escaped and corralled himself inside a building at ILM.

The exercise was done to mainly help train the county’s emergency response team, but in turn, it helped all agencies involved fine-tune their tactics. Negotiators and other deputies gathered at a command post, while response team members attempted to get the suspect out. This was the first training exercise of its type for the emergency response team.

“Training is pivotal to what you want to accomplish in real life,” said Sgt. Jerry Brewer, a spokesman for the New Hanover County Sheriff’s Office. “If you train and train to make sure you have those same reactions that you have on the street as you have in training, it just betters your outcome. For today, we’ve already learned some mistakes and some policies we need to adjust as well as some equipment issues that we need to make changes in.”

The sheriff’s office bomb disposal unit utilized its robot to make contact with the suspect.
Brewer says the exercise was not set in stone. The scenario would change depending on what was going on with team members and other agencies involved.

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