Tri-State SWAT teams prepare for worst-case scenarios on Ohio River

CINCINNATI -- Emergency crews from across the region flocked to the Ohio River to help prepare for the worst-case scenario.

Officers participating in Wednesday's SWAT training exercises worked through several of a wide assortment of situations that could occur on the river.

Teams from Ohio, Kentucky and Indiana took part in the day-long event, according to Lt. Charles Phillips with the Kentucky Fish and Wildlife Department.

"This is the first time... in my career, 15 years on the water that we've ever been able to do this sort of thing," he said. "This isn't a small exercise. It involves agencies from both sides of the river, and over 40 officers."

Training went from 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. near Taylors Port in Hebron, Kentucky.

One of the most extreme situations for which they trained is also one of the most unthinkable -- someone tampering with the water supply.

"You're dealing with something that could potentially pollute the entire water intake system in the Ohio River, clear to Louisville," Phillips said. "We want to effectively, efficiently and safely take and neutralize that situation and keep the people safe."

In addition to the physical training, the crews focused on other preparations such as working on timing and the psychology behind executing water-based maneuvers. They also focused on the tactical side of simply being on a boat.

Phillips said this type of preparation is important because while the officers taking part are some of the best trained in the world, attempting to perform many of the maneuvers they've grown accustomed to doing on land change drastically when a body of water is involved.

"There's all kinds of ropes and cables, and just rigging that they use to tie them together," he said. "You think about four or five people, and going from one end (of a large barge) to the other and being able to find a bad guy. It's really a huge team effort."

This was the first of three such training sessions this month.

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