(Columbia) - Columbia Police officials say officers with the police department's Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) team are among several participants in a special class designed to teach them how to protect dignitaries.
Two retired Los Angeles Police Department officers are teaching the class, Executive and Dignitary Protection, through the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP) training and education division.
Officials say the class, which ends on Friday, March 23, also includes officers from the Cary (North Carolina) Police Department, North Carolina Office of the Governor, Connecticut State Police and a private contractor from Irvine, Texas.
Throughout this past week, class members have learned the steps to take when preparing for a dignitary's arrival and how to keep that person protected while in town. They've learned how to set up for a dignitary's entrance, safely transport the person from one location to another in a motorcade and deal with combative crowds.
The 24 students' knowledge will be put to the test on Friday when they split up into two teams for a mock exercise, featuring their instructors posing as dignitaries. The teams will pick up the dignitaries from the airport and move them to several locations throughout the city. A mock news conference will follow at the Columbia Police Department's Training and Career Development Division at 1632 Hampton Street.
This is the first time the Executive and Dignitary Protection class has been offered in Columbia, one of several cities specially selected to hold IACP training programs throughout the year.