Central Indiana agencies host terrorist attack training exercise

Indiana State Police Swat Team members participate in training exercise at Greenwood Park Mall (Photo by Nina Criscuolo)

JOHNSON COUNTY, Ind (WISH) – If you were in Greenwood on Sunday evening, you may have seen a heavy police presence. It was all part of a huge training exercise hosted by the FBI to handle a terrorist attack.

Police, fire, SWAT, FBI officers and even private security came together for the culmination of hundreds of smaller training exercises held by the FBI across the country.

“There’s going to be hostages taken and injuries occurring,” FBI Special Agent W. Jay Abbott said.

“It’ll be as real as it can possibly be,” IMPD Chief Rick Hite said.

Swat teams swarmed Greenwood Park Mall together with public and private agencies to prepare for the worst – a terrorist attack.

“Making sure we have the right people in the right place at the right time,” Chief Hite said.

“This just shows the full scale of what we can do,” Greenwood Police Chief John Laut said.

24-Hour News 8 cameras caught the training outside the mall but what was done inside was kept secret.

EMT's respond to "victim" during training exercise.
EMT’s respond to “victim” during training exercise.

From EMT to bomb teams, the FBI says this is its biggest training exercise yet and the federal agency chose to hold it in Central Indiana.

“A lot of assets from law enforcement and the private sector trying to come to bare and make order out of the chaos,” Special Agent Abbott said.

Department leaders say training with other agencies is important to truly prepare for a complex situation like this.

“When the chief or the mayor in Greenwood needs assistance who are they going to call? They’re going to call their regional partners,” Chief Hite said.

“To work through communications with other agencies is going to be a plus,” Chief Laut said.

Most importantly the FBI says each agency will improve its skills.

“Our ability to address, react, and handle a complex terrorist incident,” Special Agent Abbott said.

We do want to note that Greenwood Park Mall was not chosen because there have been any threats there or to the immediate area. Businesses in the area remained open Sunday evening, but the training was done behind barriers the agencies put up at the mall.

Outside Greenwood Park Mall during FBI training exercise.
Outside Greenwood Park Mall during FBI training exercise.

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